Akerman Collection – Salt Spring Island

Stone Bowl from Akerman Museum

Stone Bowl from Akerman Museum

Salt Spring Island has a pretty active museum and archival society, by the looks of it – at least, they are putting a lot of pictures and documents online.  One thing which caught my eye was their photos of the Akerman Museum – which I take to be the private collection at the home of Bob Akerman.  This is a striking carved object (of which I wish there were more photographs) described as: Black stone that they claim had healing power. Shamans used it when they were visiting the sick. Though elsewhere, they show another object with a similar description which appears not to be worked much, if at all.  There’s no real documentation which is too bad — the stone tools in this picture, for example, strike me as more of a neolithic thing than a northwest coast one.  I hope they have the information somewhere.  This is an impressive metal celt, and it looks like he has a good collection of nephrite ones as well, though the picture is exceptionally poor.  (NB – bandwidth is not nearly so much of a concern these days, so don’t shrink your pictures so much!) There are lots of slightly unusual artifacts, like this collection of handstones. All around, it looks like Akerman has a great collection — I don’t want to think too much about where the archaeological material came from, or how he came to have it, and I’d like to think there is a shoebox full of notes somewhere — but all the same it is interesting to peruse and I’m glad the Salt Spring Archives have at least some documentation of it.

Another highlight of the site is Chris Arnett’s short, but lively and informative history of First Nations of Saltspring Island.

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One response to “Akerman Collection – Salt Spring Island

  1. That first black healing stone has similarities to the ‘scowmidgeon’ fisher-type animals often carved on Salish houseposts and grave markers. Stuffed animals were used in cleansing rituals by shamans – there is a Wayne Suttles publication on these.

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