Getting the show on the road: A traveling Lalique exhibition

Recently, the 2014-2015 Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) exhibition, René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass, traveled to the Chrysler Museum of Art (CMA) in Norfolk, Va. This group of 233 predominantly glass objects ranges from delicate jewelry and perfume bottles to lamps and large vases. CMoG regularly loans objects to other institutions, but the number of objects in this group posed a new challenge.

Anyone who has moved from one home to another will recall the difficulties of keeping all belongings intact and accounted for. Imagine those belongings are glass artworks. How exactly do 233 artworks make a 350-mile journey? Let’s follow two fish lamps from Corning to Norfolk.



Physical Exams

Conservators examine each object proposed for loan to determine whether it is stable enough to withstand the stresses of shipping. If an object is fit to travel, its condition before leaving the Museum is documented in a detailed report. The fish’s glass top, metal base and electrical components are all examined.

Head Count
Registrars keep track of the extensive CMoG collection. To simplify the process, each object is assigned a unique number when it enters the collection. Information about an object, such as its condition, location and history, is filed in a database under this number.

 

Planning
Preparators handle the installation of artwork, which includes making sure that objects are operational and displayed securely. Electrical wiring is also upgraded for safety reasons. Because rapid changes in temperature and humidity are unsafe for glass, LED bulbs, which emit very little heat, are used wherever possible.

Packing and Shipping
Every loan object travels in a foam cavity contoured to its shape. Creating this type of packing is laborious, but results in a padded travel capsule for each object.

Overall view of the packing area.

Overall view of the packing area.

 

 

A Week Later at the Chrysler Museum of Art

The CMoG team will return to Norfolk to reverse the process after the show closes. Meanwhile, see the result of about a year of planning and preparation. René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass is on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art through January 21, 2018.

2 comments » Write a comment

  1. Hi! I noticed that the exhibition arrived at the CMA a week after leaving the CMoG. Do you mind sharing why it took so long? I’ve been able to see the exhibition at the Chrysler and it’s wonderful! Thank you!

    • From our conservator: We’re glad you enjoyed the exhibition at the Chrysler, Melanie! A keen observation about timing. Because glass is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature and humidity, we like to be sure our objects have time to adjust to their new environment after travelling. We give the objects at least 24 hours to acclimate in their crates before our couriers arrive to unpack them.

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