Now that we have said our heartfelt goodbyes to The Dragon’s Gift, museum staff are busy preparing for the opening of Lords of the Samurai. The period between the close of one exhibition and the opening of another is often called a “dark period” but that does not mean that nothing is happening behind the scenes. Right now registration and conservation staff are undertaking the delicate task of preparing more than 160 objects for travel to the museum.
Preparing fragile objects for international travel requires a specialized team of art handlers and packers, overseen by Asian Art Museum staff.
Before packing, every object in the exhibition must be examined by a conservator from the Asian Art Museum and by a representative from the lending museum. Any pre-existing damage is recorded. Upon arrival at the Asian Art Museum, the objects will be checked again for any changes. This condition checking is repeated at the end of the exhibition, and again when the objects return to Japan.
Each object is carefully packed into an individual box lined with custom padding. These boxes will next be fitted into large wooden crates specially built to absorb vibration, insulate against temperature changes, and protect the artwork from bumps and other traveling hazards. The crates will be transported to San Francisco under the watchful eye of accompanying staff from both museums.
After a long day, the hard-working packing team enjoy a break featuring sweets and matcha, served in a lovely Hosokawa Morihiro teabowl. In the words of Asian Art Museum Registrar Cathy Mano, “the best break time ever!”
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