A team from Falmouth has began the conservation of what is possibly the oldest Birch Bark Canoe in existence.

Estimated to be over 250 years old, the canoe is being conserved by a team from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, in Falmouth. The historic find was discovered on the Enys Estate in Penryn, where it was being stored in one of the family’s barns.

Sarah Riddle, curator at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, said: “Since the canoe was moved to the Museum we have been closely monitoring her condition and have begun carefully cleaning and conserving the remaining wood. We are also preparing the canoe to go on show to the public and creating a display which will represent what she might have looked like over 250 years ago.”

The canoe is believed to have been brought to this country by Lt John Enys, after his time fighting in the American War of Independence in 1776. The canoe has enjoyed a great deal of media attention in recent weeks, especially in Canada, where she will be returned later in the year. Canadian national radio and newspapers have all been very excited about the discovery of this original part of 18th Century Native American history. After September, the Native American canoe will be repatriated to Canada where the Canadian Canoe Museum will continue further research to see where the boat may have been built and by which tribe.

From Monday January 24, visitors can witness first-hand the painstaking conservation work as it happens. The Birch Bark Canoe will be on display in the maritime museum, where the conservation team will be on hand to answer questions about the important work they are doing.