Armed with a trolley, a tape measure, a massive object list and boxes of mounts, the exhibition gang met up yesterday to work on our three-dimensional mock-ups. These mock-ups are crucial to the success of the exhibition, as a measurement off by even a few centimeters can dramatically alter what we can and cannot include in the final display. Below, you can see Nicole (our fabulous designer) and Natasha (Collections Manager extraordinaire) carefully measuring the distance between the edge of a mount and where the text will fit at the front of the case.
When mocking up an exhibition, it is important to consider the visitor’s perspective. The exhibition cases contain multiple shelves, so when mocking up each shelf we had to make sure that the objects were not only visible but also aesthetically pleasing from either above, at or below shoulder height. The photograph below was taken from shoulder height and shows the mock-up of nautical archaeology, as well as Caroline (fearless Project Manager) holding up a backdrop and the diving tank. Note the latex gloves - crucial when handling objects!
This photograph was taken from an elevated viewpoint and shows our “photography” case.
Finally, a photo taken from a low viewpoint:
Another important consideration in exhibition mock-ups is the safety and stability of objects once they enter the case. If an object is on a mount, the mount must be sturdy enough to withstand movement while simultaneously supporting the object to prevent it from falling and/or breaking. The mount must also not stress any potentially weak points on an object; for example, the edge of a mount should not rest directly against a crack in a pot (even if the crack has been conserved), for movement of the mount could cause damage to an already vulnerable object. The mount should also support the object in its entirety: nothing should be hanging off the edge! The photograph below shows us trying to find adjustable mounts that are stable enough for the eye idols without stressing any weak areas:
Because mounts are crucial to object well-being and visibility, we spent ages trying to find the most suitable mount for each object from amongst the wide array we were given: think Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except with perspex mounts instead of bowls of porridge!
Along with mocking up our exhibition, we were responsible for de-installing the exhibition that inhabited the cases we will be using in a few short days! During de-installation, we brought up the proofs we had ordered to test out the legibility of the text and the colour saturation of the panels. What do you think?
We definitely accomplished a lot yesterday, but there is still much work to be done! Not only do we have to finish the remaining mock-ups, we also have to make custom mounts for a few of the objects, frame our photographic scans and adjust some of the mounts we already have for increased stability and conservation reasons. Although the amount of work we have yet to complete is daunting, it is exciting to finally see our ideas coming together before our eyes!