There are literally thousands of incredibly important things that happen daily to make a museum run smoothly. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be amazing. This week, in lieu of our regular format, a member of the FJJMA staff will share a little piece of their job with you. Enjoy.
CLIMB EVERY MOUNTain
WHAT IS IT?
What exactly is mount making, you ask? Okay; so you’re in a museum looking at some ceramics, jewelry, and even a kachina doll or two. Most of the time, in order to properly display those objects, they need some type of structure to support them while on display. If an object like a kachina can’t stand upright, a mount helps to stabilize it enough so it can. (And mounts help keep an object in place, because no one wants an object to fall over… GASP!)
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
All mounts vary in the amount of time they take to make. Each mount is made for a specific object, so the object has to be carefully inspected and measured to insure a proper and secure fit. Timing all depends on what materials have been selected that best fit the needs of the object. Some mounts might take an hour or two, while others might take a couple of days to fabricate.
WHAT’S IT MADE OF?
The materials used to make those structures vary; you have base materials, padding materials, and fasteners or retainers. Base materials provide strength to sustain the load. Padding provides a cushion for the object – we don’t want the object getting scratched–or worse! Examples of the kinds of padding we use include Sueded Polyethylene, mat board, and synthetic felts. Fasteners or retainers secure the object onto the mount or join different parts of the mount together. The materials to make these are usually brass, monofilament line, Mylar, etc.
HOW BIG IS IT, AND DO ALL MUSEUMS MAKE THEIR OWN?
Mounts vary in size–again, it all depends on the object. A good mount must first be functional, and then as inconspicuous as possible. In other words, the observer will see it, but not be distracted by it. As far as all museums making their own mounts, I would say that it all varies. Some make all of their own, some have them made, and some do a little of both. In the past, the Fred Jones has done both. As our museum has grown, we are beginning to do more “in-house” fabrication.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Mount making is important because when an object goes on display it has to remain protected. The object has left its “safe place” (the vault) to be placed on view for all to see. In order to keep that object protected, we have to display it in a way that ensures the object maintains its integrity (i.e., stays protected). Mounts can help protect the object against everything from accidental pedestal bumps to seismic activity. The number of people it takes to make a mount varies as well. It can take anywhere from one to three people, and potentially more. When an object is no longer on display, it is nice if the mount can stay with the object. I have been making mounts for a while now. I started with simple acrylic mounts and have more recently (last summer) learned to work with brass and various metals. It’s been a gradual process over the years.
WHO WROTE THIS?
Kristi Wyatt, Associate Preparator and Exhibition Designer. Kristi received a Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Ohio State University. She enjoys working in the print studio, building things, and partaking in the occasional dance party. More soul-searching is necessary before she can divulge to us what her *spirit animal is.
*if she does not come up with it soon, she will be arbitrarily assigned one.
artists born several years ago this week:
3/23 J.C. Leyendecker, Juan Gris | 3/24 Edward Weston, Orest Kiprensky, William Morris | 3/25 Juan Carreno de Miranda | 3/26 Jean-Michel Moreau, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld | 3/27 Edward J. Steichen | 3/28 Fra Bartolommeo | 3/29 Raymond Hood