Detail Field photograph of Igbo Ogbodo Enyi masker dancing before audience in Enyigba Izzi, 1983. Courtesy of Herbert Cole.x1200
WCMA Blog

Life in the Reinstallation

During the museum shutdown, most of the museum’s staff has been culled to lend a hand in meeting an extremely busy gallery preparation schedule. But there are also some employees who have been entrusted to carry out very different duties from what their normal everyday positions call for.

Tina Maher, a part-time museum shop associate, usually spends her days at the museum selling posters, jewelry, and exhibition catalogues to visitors. Phone orders and stocking shelves also fill her time. But until the museum shop reopens on February 3, Tina finds herself shredding outdated documents by the box-load, and by day’s end, she has an average of five garbage bags full of recyclable paper.

Museum Security Officer Michele Alice’s typical day revolves around protecting current exhibitions and securing the building. While making her hourly rounds, she takes gallery counts (making sure that all the art is on the wall, where it should be), ensures that gallery temperatures and humidity read at appropriate levels, and that patrons appreciate the art from appropriate distances. But while there are no gallery counts to take or patrons to corral, she has taken it upon herself to reorganize the museum’s messiest supply closet.

Though these jobs may seem menial and tedious, they are as necessary as the reinstallation, and neither one would have gotten done had the museum not taken a reconstructive break.

Image credit: Michele Alice organizes the supply closet. Photo by Jason Wandrei.

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