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Vatican Canoe

Vatican Canoe

Restoration of an early 20th century canoe from Oceania
The canoe's prow
Carved figures decorating the canoe
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Where does this canoe come from?

Why is the Vatican restoring it?

Over several centuries, approximately 70,000 items have come to the Vatican Museums from Catholic missions all over the world.  Some of these objects, including this canoe, were gifts to the Pope from indigenous people.

Vatican restorers are trying to bring the canoe back to a seaworthy condition.

Why?

The answer is that this boat, like many such gifts, came to the Vatican without documentation.

Currently curators can only say with certainly that the canoe came from "Oceania" (a very big place).

By restoring the canoe, curators hope to learn more about its design and purpose - information that will help them discover the identity of the people who built it.

If someone gives you a gift, it's nice to remember their name.  And that's what the curators are trying to find out.

To view the canoe's restoration in progress, we invite you to watch our Web Exclusive Video:  Canoe Restored.

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