Inuit seal game
The Inuit people who made this game were the from Baffinsland, also known as Baffin Island, in the northern Canadian territory, now called Nunavut. The toy was made some time before 1956, but we don't know the exact date.
The bone is quite brittle and it has broken and suffered loss of some surface fragments, revealing the vulnerable spongy bone in the centre. Frequent or excessive changes in relative humidity (RH) can lead to the cracks opening up further as the bone absorbs and desorbs moisture and changes shape accordingly. RH needs to be controlled at around 50% +/-5% to avoid extension of the cracks already formed in the bone.
The skin ‘fishes’ are not fully tanned like leather, so they are quite dry and would be damaged by contact with moisture, solvents or any other liquids. They would now crease and tear easily if not handled gently.
Sources of information
National Museums Liverpool website