An Installation Process

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 by

One of the benefits of working at a small museum is that we each have the opportunity to wear many hats.  It’s how I became the graphic designer.  And the web master.  And part of the social media team.  Our days are full of little extra things that keep the job interesting.

One of those things is helping to move travelling exhibits.  The wonderful Community Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning is responsible for finding homes across the state (and, possibly, the country) for the exhibitions curated and created by the JMM.  This is quite a task, it involves a lot of research, emails, and phone calls.  I can say that because our desks are next to each other.

This past week we installed Drawing on Tradition: The Book of Esther, an exhibit of work by artist JT Waldman, curated by the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  On Tuesday Rachael (from hereon known as Toodles to differentiate her from Rachel Kassman) drove to DC in a giant van with the work.  We unloaded everything at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and then treated ourselves to Chinese food and frozen yogurt.

On Thursday night, Jennifer Vess (Archivist), Rachel Kassman (Photo Archivist), Toodles and I stayed after work to help with the 18 Stones Book Signing & Reception at the Museum.  It was here that we learned that (unsurprisingly, I guess) challah with sweet butter and chocolate sprinkles is delicious.


After the program we left for DC, with a stop at Target on the way (to buy an airmattress.  And a few blouses).  We arrived in DC at Toodles’ house, quickly snuggled her dog Wednesday, and then headed to Ted’s Bulletin for dinner.  Now, there are two points that need clarification.  1) We decided to all stay at Toodles’ house Thursday night so that we could get up and begin installing first thing Friday.  2) We chose Ted’s because they have adult milkshakes.

Boozy milkshakes? We earned them!

Mmmmm… adult milkshakes, burgers, and more!  This was a good dinner out.  After dinner we went back to the house, took Wednesday on a long walk, admired the architecture of Capitol Hill, and then knitted and watched movies.

Early the next morning we got moving, got breakfast, and arrived at Sixth & I.  Here is where I stop to say the most sincere thank you I can muster to Cecilio, the hanging genius/madman that helped us hang.  He was a precise hanging machine and we’d still be there, crying in the corner, exhibition unfinished, if not for him.  We all divided up tasks– hanging, condition reporting, putting up the giant decal that took 10 years off my life.  And amazingly, it went up!

An installation in progress

Throughout the process, we took a lot of photos with my DSLR and the end product was (what we think is) an awesome stop-motion video.

Drawing on Tradition: The Book of Esther from Jewish Museum of Maryland on Vimeo.

A just reward

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with much deserved frozen yogurt.  Be sure to stop by Sixth & I to see the exhibit through April 29!

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