conservation: dance constumes

in october i began volunteering at the mathers museum in the conservation lab.  i started by doing research on six dance costumes from brazil and western africa to discern how they were used and how they have since been stored by other museums.  then i began constructing storage supports for them.  most of them were in storage for decades in ways that put stress on the objects, most of which are primarily straw and very brittle.  so i've now completed all six, and they're now in storage and much more stable.

the kids (minus the skirt), poor storage.  most just one or two points of contact, resulting in
severe stress at places not intended to support the costume
#1: in progress...
#1: better!  (before the hanger was in direct contact with the skirt)
#2: terrible - stress on the stop, caving in of the headdress..
(the braided part was for transportation purposes and never undone.
at this point it would be more stressful on the grass to unbraid it.)
#2: easier to see the deformation
#2: much better! (but ugly... that, too, will be improved soon)
#3: bad 
#4: bad
#4: ... in progress ...
#4: much better!  distributed stress, easy removal from hanger
#5: all the weight is being put on the top
#5: bad
#5: really bad.  only support for the whole costume
#5: somewhat better
#5: future support, in progress (end product stuffed for better support and covered with fabric)
#5: much better.  attachment at head does little more than keep the costume balanced
my costumes, happier hangings.

No comments:

Post a Comment