Last Thursday we saw the first construction for our new furniture heritage exhibition, which opens May 26th. Many people ask how an exhibit goes together. In the interests of transparency, which is all the rage these days, we thought we would give you a “behind the scenes” look at how our gallery comes together over the next six weeks. We will be posting weekly updates on the construction, arrival of objects from off-site storage, and installation of the exhibition.
Although we started construction last week, there has been a lot going on to prepare for the first foray into changing the exhibition. In the gallery, the old exhibit has been removed and the museum’s objects returned to their regular storage locations. The bulk of the exhibition was traveling, so all of those objects (mostly watercolors and gouaches) had to be repacked in their crates. The crates were picked up by a shipper.
Once the gallery was clear, the painters came in to patch the walls and apply the new wall colors for the furniture exhibition. The designer has specified three different colors, so all of that had to be mapped out for the painters.
Development of the content of the exhibition has been going on for the last ten months. The first script was sent out to readers in July 2008. Before we could get to that point, however, we had many months of research, learning the history of the region’s furniture industry and surveying objects in public and private collections that might be suitable to include. Script development is a rather complicated ballet of list making and word smithing, punctuated with drawing preliminary floor plans and brainstorming design and interpretive ideas. Some sections of the first script and their attendant objects are winnowed as the twin realities of space and budget begin to take hold. All along the way, the museum’s staff, our volunteers and our advisory committee members are reading the script (and its subsequent iterations) and giving us their critiques. Exhibit development is definitely a group activity.
Two weeks ago, the designer laid out the floor plan with tape on the gallery floor and we all began to get excited about the project. That is, going from paper to life-size is truly invigorating. Our volunteer docents get more enthusiastic with every viewing of the space. Today, they were invited to read the script taped to the gallery walls.
We have included a few gallery views taken this morning. By next week at this time all of these areas will have changed, and you dear reader will witness those changes.
bottom--Our docent crew has come in for their first look at the mock up. They read the text panels and label copy for typos, asked questions, gave some good suggestions, and told us they love it all. This is very encouraging.