Conservation Lab

The Conservation Lab

Shortly after taking possession of the Tunica Treasure in 1989, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe raised enough funds to purchase two refrigerator truck trailers to serve as the conservation laboratory. At the time, these resources were the most feasible way to begin stabilization and restoration of the collection. Experts were brought in to evaluate and train members of the tribe on techniques to properly restore artifacts, and the enormous task began. Noted archaeologists called the Tunica Treasure the greatest archaeological find in the lower Mississippi valley and one of the greatest archaeological finds of the twentieth century.

On November 30, 2011, the Tunica-Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center was dedicated including a new museum and state-of-the-art conservation and restoration lab for the Tunica Treasure. Additionally, the center houses a gift shop, library, auditorium, classrooms, distance learning center, meeting rooms and tribal government offices. The center protects the heritage of the tribe and serves as a resource for the Tunica-Biloxi today and into the future.

The largest collection of 18th century Indian relics ever discovered, the Tunica Treasure includes a variety of musket parts, iron tools, jewelry, European and aboriginal pottery, and over 200,000 European trade beads–more than all the beads ever found in the southeastern United States combined.

Lab Director Brent Barbry, Sr., has more than 25 years of conservation and preservation experience with the Tunica Treasure. The Tunica-Biloxi Conservation Lab offers a wide range of conservation and restoration services for private clients, museums, galleries, corporations, non-profit organizations and insurance companies across the country. All treatments are carried out in compliance with the American Institute for Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice, which mandates the use of archival and reversible materials and minimally invasive treatment methods.

The Tunica-Biloxi Conservation Lab provides the following preservation and restoration services specializing in material culture from the 18th century.


Conservation and restoration of:

  • Ceramics (earthenware, stoneware)
  • Glass (beads, bottles)
  • Iron (kettles, bails, skillets, axes, hoes, adzes, etc.)
  • Pewter (porringers, jugs, spoons, jewelry, etc.)
  • Silver (earbobs, bands)
  • Copper & copper alloys (kettles, wire bail, skillets, spoons, buttons, bells, jewelry, etc.)
  • Fabrics
  • Kaolin pipes
  • Aboriginal artifacts (pottery, shell, stone, woven bark cloth, baskets, etc.)

For more information, contact Brent Barbry at or (800) 272-9767.