I have been very fortunate to have handled some important historic Native art in my capacity as a restoration specialist (As well as being a artist). It teaches me more about the art than any other way I think I could imagine. It helps me greatly in knowing how this work is done which I then use this knowledge to create and make new works. No amount of looking at photos of artifacts can replace actually getting to feel, smell, handle, and repair the work. Fixing what the artist did teaches you as if you were to have a paint brush and follow a master painters work brush stroke to brush stroke.
This dress was one of those famous works. It is shown in this famous Curtis photo of "The Wife of Mnainak", A Yakima Chief. I have restored quite a few of these Plateau Mt. Sheep Hide Dresses. They are one of my favorite items to make as well.