Friday, May 31, 2013

Traveling with The Roaring Twenties

by Ada Hopkins, Conservator

On May 20 Sarah Beam-Borg (BSM Asst. Curator/Exhibit Project Manager) and I flew to St. John’s, Newfoundland to install the exhibition The Roaring 20s: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits at the provincial museum called The Rooms which sits on top of the hill overlooking the harbour. The Rooms, which opened in 2005, is a cultural facility featuring an archives, art gallery, and theatre as well as the museum.

Three crates of artifacts had been sent several weeks in advance and all the original wall panels were delivered by truck in April. When we arrived at The Rooms on Tuesday morning we were greeted by staff and given a quick tour of the museum, the storage areas and the conservation lab. It’s always exciting to go behind-the-scenes in other institutions and see what projects they are working on. The graphic panels and display cases were already installed in the gallery so we set to work immediately unpacking and checking condition reports for all the shoes and the Vuitton shoe trunk. Once we’d ascertained that everything had arrived in good condition it was time to place the shoes with their attendant labels.

Unpacking the Vuitton shoe trunk
Shoes for the Vuitton trunk display

There were several items of clothing from The Rooms’ collection that provided a nice addition to the BSM artifacts including 4 cloche and 2 beaded dresses. These were either made in Newfoundland or worn by a resident of the province. On the last day of set up, the lighting designer came in to adjust the light levels which protects the artifacts and helps establish the overall mood.

Vuitton trunk ready to be slid into the showcase
Sarah installing the shoes

It’s always interesting to see an exhibition travel to another institution. In this instance the gallery is slightly larger which gives the display cases an opportunity to ‘breathe’ creating an airier feel to the exhibition.
We concluded our trip to St. John’s with a boat tour that took us out of the harbour, through the ‘Narrows’ into the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast. Before returning to the dock we cruised into a little bay called Quidi Vidi. The following day we rented a car for a trip to Cape Spear, Petty Harbour, Signal Hill and a view of Quidi Vidi from the land!!

View of St. John's harbour and The Narrows from inside The Rooms
Cape Spear: the eastern most location in North America - Next stop Greenland!

1 comment:

  1. Just saw this exhibit - fantastic! I'm a huge Gatsby fan, and the ladies at my jazz dance class told me about the display at The Rooms. Glad you enjoyed your time in NL!