Turner found the 800-year-old blanket in the ruins of an Anasazi pueblo in a cliff dwelling near the Blue Mountains in southern Utah.
Because most remains of the Anasazi culture are smaller pieces corncobs, woven sandals and baskets the blanket is considered priceless. Using a technique called "reverse archaeology," Fred Blackburn, historian, educator, environmental and cultural interpreter and author of Cowboys and Cave Dwellers, and Bill and Beth Sagstetter, researchers and authors of The Mining Camps Speak, have extensively researched the history of the blanket, thought to be one of only three intact textiles that date to Anasazi Pueblo III, or 1100-1400 A.D.
The blanket, which Lauren Bloemsma, THM executive director, describes as "incredibly delicate," has been in storage in recent years.
That's about to change. "The Denver Art Museum has recognized the blanket as the national treasure that it is," says Bloemsma, "and they are helping us design and make a new exhibit case." To that end, if the museum can raise approximately $5,000, work on the case will proceed. And "if we have a little bit let over," she adds, "we can create some text panels to go with it."
Three school groups will view the blanket Thursday; at 5:30 p.m., Blackburn and Sagstetter will discuss their research in the museum's Weatherford Room. The blanket itself will be on display from 4-7 p.m. Admission to view the blanket and the other interactive and interpretive exhibits in the museum is free for members and children, $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Because the exhibit occurs on Thursday, however, locals benefit from "Locals Thursday," free admission to the museum. Admission to the lecture is $10 for non-members and $5 for members. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 728-3344. There is limited seating for the lecture and advance ticket purchases are recommended.