Thursday, 26 June 2014

Selecting Objects For Maori Carving Display

I'm pleased to let you know we've selected the objects for a forthcoming display highlighting the art of Maori carving. Staff from collections, conservation, and technical services will all be working on the display. We finalised the selection in a team meeting, which enabled us to discuss ideas and practical issues from a wide range of perspectives.

Left: laying out the objects ready for the meeting; right: discussing the display © Pitt Rivers Museum

Curator, Jeremy Coote talking with Technicians, Chris and Alan
© Pitt Rivers Museum
The wooden carvings are a mix of house panels, feather boxes, canoe parts and associated material. In collections we need to think about a story line and possible sub-themes for the display. We can then write the display text and labels and, if useful, find images to include in the display.

Talking through our ideas with technicians, who will actual install the case, means we can think collectively about the most effective way to display the objects. We can consider their actual placement in the case, the best angle to position each object, and ensure supports and fittings can be made.

Conservation staff clean the objects and carry out any necessary treatments before the objects go on display. Working with the collection in front of us, meant conservators could check the current condition of the objects and assess how long they will take to prepare.

Left: Head conservator, Heather, checking the condition of the objects;
Right: Technicians, Chris and Alan, considering how to angle door jamb PRM 1930.85.7 .2 © Pitt Rivers Museum

Placing the canoe balers
© Pitt Rivers Museum
We were all able to realistically see how many objects to include in the display. Having measured out the area of the case, we could move the objects around and decide on a workable layout.

Moving objects around
© Pitt Rivers Museum

The meeting was really useful. I think we are all pleased with the final selection and agreed initial design.

The majority of the carvings are from the reserve collection so this a great opportunity to put them on display. Keep an eye on this site for future blogs about this forthcoming display.

Basic layout of the carvings in the new case © Pitt Rivers Museum
Zena McGreevy
Senior Assistant Curator

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