Rhoda Holmes Nicholls (American, 1854-1930); Still-Life, Cherries; watercolor on paper mounted on board. Collection of Walter and Berta Burr, Hoosick, NY. x1200
WCMA Blog
Feed

Category: Behind-the-Scenes

Cosmetics & Fashion in the Ancient Collection

A couple of summers ago, our Williams student intern Chelsea Church ’12 helped me move artwork as part of our IMLS funded ancient art digitization project.  She got very excited about many of the fashion accessory items, especially the ancient Greek gold jewelry. She got so excited in fact, that she ran up to the museum’s PR department so that she could show her friend, who was also working as an intern, just how beautiful these pieces were. As we…

Read more

African Americans and the American Scene: Behind-the-Scenes

By Dalila Scruggs, Mellon Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts
The official opening reception for my exhibition African Americans and the American Scene, 1929-1945 is today!

After several months of research, writing, and planning, my co-curator Sandra Burton and I finally installed our exhibition African Americans and the American Scene, 1929-1945 over the course of one hectic week. On Monday the galleries were empty—“fresh, with no mistakes in them” (as Anne of Green Gables might say). And by Friday night, all…

Read more

Love & Romance

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we can look to the museum’s collection for portrayals of love and romance. Some of my personal favorites include: “La Declaration d’amour” by Jean François de Troy (circa 1724), Robert Indiana’s “Love” series (1982), and a Peruvian ceramic blackware entitled “Two Lovers” (19th century). I also find the photograph “Le Muguet du metro” (1953)  by Robert Doisneau interesting because while it seems romantic that the woman is holding a bouquet of flowers, the couple’s relationship looks very…

Read more

Preparation for the Opening of Asco

This week WCMA staff installed a large mural in the atrium of the museum in preparation for the opening of the exhibition Asco: Elite of the Obscure A Retrospective, 1972–1987 which will be on view this Saturday, February 4–July 29, 2012.

The mural Bound by Patssi Valdez was first laid out and condition checked in the Rose Study Gallery.

Then it was brought into the atrium and raised into position.

Next the mural was carefully tacked to the wall.

Patssi Valdez, Bound, 2011, acrylic…

Read more

Behind-the-Scenes of the Installation of Asco

The installation of the exhibition Asco: Elite of the Obscure has begun. Allison McCloskey, Assistant Conservator of Textiles and Objects from the Williamstown Art Conservation Center paid a visit to WCMA to install a costume (boots, helmet, and velvet suit), c. 1974.

The mannequin and under layer of the suit are assembled.

The velvet suit is unpacked. It’s condition is checked and documented.

Allison adjusts the jacket.

Here is the full costume. Note the fabulous Platform Sadler boots customized by Pasquale di Fabrizio with…

Read more

Egyptian Beadwork

When I first started working at WCMA in the winter of 2010, the digitization team was working on shooting a group of Egyptian necklaces. The bead work on them is often very intricate and beautiful. You can search our collection database using the quick search with the term “necklace” to view a variety of them. Here are some examples.

 

There was one however, which was tangled and confused the digitization team in regards to its proper orientation. No one could figure…

Read more

Food and Family

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches our thoughts turn to food and family. If you search our collection database using the term “food” under the quick search, you can find a variety of objects. We have World War I posters that warn against wasting food. We have a rice harvesting tool from Vietnam. We have a color, Farm Security Administration photograph of women slicing pies.  We also have a small terracotta of a woman baking bread in an oven, which is from Boeotia,…

Read more

Mummified Hand

Just in time for Halloween we have the mystery of the mummified hand. How did it become separated from its arm? How did such an object become part of our collection? What does the museum do with it? What kind of condition is a hand in that is likely thousands of years old?

As to the first question, the object was brought into the collection by Professor Richard Austin Rice. Rice was a professor at Williams College from 1881-1911. According to…

Read more

Bringing Pottery Sherds to Life

When we started working on our Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) ancient art digitization grant a couple of years ago, we began to research some objects that came into the museum with very little information, often with no date or culture to speak of. Laura Lesswing, Williams Art History Graduate class of 2010, was a big help to me. We reviewed the curatorial files for leads on information about the objects. In the file for a group of…

Read more

Digitizing Textiles

Photographing textiles was an interesting part of our two year IMLS digitization grant we just finished up which focused on ancient and world cultures. Not all objects fit on a table top on a small easel. In fact, shooting ten foot tall Indian temple hangings and enormous African blankets was a bit challenging for the digitization team. The Indian temple hangings, for example, are usually rolled up and hung from the ceiling in art storage making them difficult to access,…

Read more