Into the Depths…

Last Thursday, our Plum Blossom and Associate members gathered for the annual Behind the Scenes Tour. Each year, our curatorial and collections staff takes these members through key areas of the museum not open to the public where our collection is stored. These tours are also an exciting opportunity for these members to see how our storage facilities are upgraded over time as a result of donor generosity and technological innovations.

This year, the departments chose to highlight how the museum stores and cares for its Asian ceramics collection. The evening began with a reception in the museum’s courtyard, followed by a tour of the new Space Saver Four-Post mobile compact storage unit for an up close and personal look at how it works, what ceramics it protects, how it protects them and how they’re organized.  As we mentioned in a previous post, an important part of the work in this area is ensuring that objects are properly stored in archival-quality boxes, tissue and foam padding. In addition to the newly deinstalled Chinese ceramics mentioned in the previous post, they’re revisiting many other stored ceramics for periodic conservation. Above, our registrar Annie demonstrates to our members how the staff uses brushes and even an adapted vacuum to surface-clean each object before repacking. It’s a time-consuming process, but an essential one! The whole experience was a good reminder that even if an object isn’t on view, it still requires a lot of time and attention.

Want more behind-the-scenes action? Check out our previous posts on the making of our kimono exhibition and the conservation of our roundel. Want to learn more about the membership levels that came to this event? Check out the Membership section of our website. ~CM

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