Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Big Move, Part I

With the time remaining until we reopen countable in weeks instead of months or years, we've begun in earnest to prepare for our move back into our newly renovated and expanded museum. I'm starting a series of blog posts that will document our adventures over the next few weeks, so keep checking back here to see where are!

Our current priority is to gather together the 451 objects the curators have put on the checklist for our opening exhibition, Inside, Outside, Upstairs, Downstairs: The Addison Anew. Over the last few weeks, the Preparators and I have been crawling over the crates, bins and shelves of our art storage warehouse facility pulling these objects (see left, Brian Coleman, Preparator, and I contemplate our storage situation atop our crates). Since this checklist did not exist when we packed and moved out of the museum two years ago, the checklist objects are mixed in and packed with the rest of the collection, some more accessible than others. Some have been very easy to pull. Objects recently in our Coming of Age travelling tour are still in their crates, "on top of the pile," so to speak, and can just come straight to the museum as they are. Others are not as easy. Some are in bins three shelves up, some ten to fifteen feet off the ground, and are very difficult to get at. These are not things that can be simply "tossed down" to someone waiting to catch it below. We handle our artwork with great care, and trying to hand a three foot wide painting with a heavy, ornate frame carefully to someone below you while maneuvering your head around beams and sprinkler heads takes patience, practice, and a willingness to get bumped on the head if it means the artwork will get to where it needs to go safely.

Once all the objects have been pulled, we'll truck them to the museum, where they will then be unpacked and laid out in the galleries for the curators to arrange, and the Preparators to install and hang. I will follow behind to update the objects' locations on our database, and finally, for the first time since 2008, users of our website will be able to see "Object currently on view" appear in our object record data.

But this is just what we need to do to get artwork back into the museum. There is much more to do, and stay tuned for Part II, where I'll discuss the logistics of moving everyone and everything else back to the museum. That is, assuming, I haven't suffered too many bumps and bruises to my head!

Posted by:

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives