Installation in Progress

One of the many adaptations that moving the African collection into the South Gallery on the First Floor has required has been adjusting to a space that is both smaller and considerably more open than the old Arts of Africa galleries.

Installation in Progress

Installation in progress.

Through a series of discussions and plans with Matthew, our Chief Designer, I have come to see that openness as one of the most exciting features of the new layout (instead of a problem to be overcome). The African Innovations galleries will be visible from many different angles within the Great Hall, and will allow visitors to move between the two spaces with ease, while still creating a number of separate galleries within the new installation.

Case Layout

Case layout for portion of opening segments of African Innovations

Carpentry plan

Carpentry plan for portion of opening segments of African Innovations.

Paint Plan

Paint plan for portion of opening segments of African Innovations.

The design cleverly use of a series of diagonal walls, aligned with the existing architecture of the building, to create seven distinct spaces within the installation, for each of the exhibition’s themes. These mini-galleries have the benefit of organizing related works in close proximity, while still drawing upon the openness of the original space.

If you’ve been to the museum in the last month, you have been able to watch this process play out in the open, at least in part. In that same spirit, here are a few “behind-the-scenes” shots to fill you in on parts of the construction and re-installation process that have been less visible.

Installation

Arts of the Dan case in Arts of Africa during de-installation with Collections Management notes explaining the mounts and movement locations of the respective objects in the case.

Installation

Objects in the Arts of Africa galleries were moved to temporary storage and notes indicate which cases will be re-used and re-painted for African Innovations.

Installation

The Arts of Africa galleries became a temporary work-space, in which cases were painted and dried, and new linen was sewn onto the backs of case boards.

Installation

Vitrines in the Arts of Africa galleries/work-space are covered during case painting and board preparation.

Installation

African Innovations’ new signature work, our Three-Headed Figure (Sakimatwemtwe) by an unidentified 19th century Lega artist, sits in temporary storage with his mount and mount sheet, awaiting his star turn.

Installation

In temporary storage, old favorites can be seen in (surprising!) new angles.

Installation

In the African Innovations galleries, the walls went up earlier in the month.

Installation

Now painted, the color scheme has begun to emerge...as has the eventual flow between the Great Hall and the new installation.

Installation

Looking through the African Innovations galleries, from near the eastern wall, upon the completion of painting.