Tile after tile

There was a flurry of activity related to the research on the classical collection during last week of August.  Normally, the objects under observation are removed from the galleries so that we can study them in either the conservation lab (Corey) or the Scholars Room (the visiting consultant and I).  However, it was the Roman mosaic that was the subject of the study session… and it could not be moved! So mosaic specialist Debra Foran, objects conservator Corey Riley and I worked in the galleries.

The study took place on Monday because the museum is closed to the public.  We could work quietly and also study every single little tessera (tile) that makes up the lovely floral and geometric design of the mosaic. We all felt a little weird kneeling or sitting on blankets on the edge of the mosaic so that we could look at the middle of it closely! Tiles were counted, no loose ones were found, we looked at the colour of the glass and stone tesserae with the Munsell chart… every little detail was studied.

 

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Off view

If you were to take a walk in the Classical galleries at the museum this week and the next, you’d notice that some vitrines are completely empty of artefacts. The reason? These are being studied by private objects conservator Corey Smith Riley.

Corey’s looking at material, manufacture, condition and previous conservation treatments for all the Greek objects (ceramics and bronze). It’s part of the research project I have been managing for the last three years, the study of the Classical collection for the catalogue. Corey’s work is a follow-up to Taking a look at Greek ceramics.

UGA students visit the NCMA

Back on September 25, a group of students from the University of Georgia, Athens drove all the way up to Raleigh to visit the NC Museum of Art. The visit was part of Professor Mark Abbe’s course entitled Senior Seminar Greek and Roman Art: New Approaches and New Discoveries.

Discussing gallery design and object interpretation with students from the University of Georgia, Athens

Discussing gallery design and object interpretation with Mark Abbe’s students from the University of Georgia, Athens.

This study trip included a special curatorial tour of the Egyptian galleries, where I discussed the design of the galleries,  interpretation of objects and general curatorial work. Students also studied the Classical marble statues they had selected for a research paper due later this semester. I remained on hand to answer questions.

After a delicious lunch Neomonde (a must when Mark is in town), the visit continued in the NCMA’s Conservation lab, where Noelle chatted about paintings conservation, Perry demonstrated laser cleaning, and Corey and I talked about the Bacchus Conservation Project and objects conservation.

As always, it was a pleasure to spend the day with students who are interested in art and eager to learn about careers in the museum field.  (Clearly, the tour was deemed beneficial and interesting because I received a hand-written thank you card sent by snail mail! That was such a pleasant surprise.)