In this installment of Home Work, MoFA’s registrar Jean Young gives us a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s collections storage areas and shows us how she’s prepping to send an object to Orlando.
Sliding screens hold hundreds of framed works of art, including paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs. With Kelly Hendrickson, one of MoFA’s art preparators, I am rearranging these works to make them more accessible and to make room for additional works that may become a part of MoFA’s permanent collection in the future.
After a work has been displayed in the museum, it needs to be safely prepared and sorted to be returned to the permanent collection storage areas. I will update the collections database to take note of any condition issues and also to update the location of the object. Throughout this process, I use blankets, soft packing materials, and archival paper to protect the works.
Maintaining constant temperature and humidity levels in the permanent collection is key to keeping art objects in good condition. Here, I’m placing a de-humidifier in the room where MoFA’s Carter Collection is stored. The Carter Collection consists of a wide variety of ceramic vessels and sculptures from Indigenous coastal cultures including the Moche, Chimú, Lambayeque, Chancay, Paracas, and Nazca, which John and Mary Carter donated to the Florida State College for Women in 1944.
MoFA routinely loans works to other museums and cultural organizations for art exhibitions. Researchers also often ask for detailed photographs of specific pieces to aid in their projects. Werecently photographed a suite of small sculptures for students to use in a museum studies course. Here, I’m returning a work by Mary Johnson – Three Serrated Kings: Benign, from Traps and Cages: Impending Disasters – back into its designated storage spot after having its picture taken.
Kelly Hendrickson takes photographs of an antique China cabinet from MoFA’s Pryor Collection. This piece is being considered for a long-term loan to the China Pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, where it would be displayed alongside other works of art from museum collections from around the world. To prepare the loan, we must photograph the object and note any issues in its condition.