The Great WMODA Build Up

As we head into summer, we are already hot at WMODA! The museum team has been busy unpacking and rebuilding your favorite galleries and more. Our reference library of British ceramics now has a new home, and we are creating an Ardmore Design shop in the heart of the Hollywood Design and Commerce Center. Louise Irvine is working with a wonderful WMODA team along with Gregg Whittecar, our Project Manager, to visualize a new museum experience celebrating the Fired Arts.

We are hard at work setting the second floor of the new location where we go back in time and tell the story of 19th century ceramic art. To highlight the Victorian era, Lori Brown, our graphics designer is helping us visualize a conservatory for our magnificent Majolica jardinieres and urns as well as a garden setting for our regal terracotta lion. In our new Regency gallery, we are creating a neoclassical style library featuring Wedgwood sculptures and vases. Luis Montanez, our logistics team leader, has been building bookshelves and hanging works of art while volunteer, Alain Montour, has been cataloging the books.

The major collections of Victorian art pottery have been unpacked by our new WMODA team led by our Collections Manager, Carolina Bermudez. She ensures that everything is unpacked correctly and recorded in our inventory database together with gallery and storage locations. On “Bring your Child to Work Day” in April, we had extra assistance from Carolina’s young daughter, Elena! Carolina is also training our new recruits, Paula Illarramendi and Kierstin Tsoi. Both are recent arts graduates and are eager to learn the museum business. They are certainly starting the hard way during the Great WMODA Build-Up! Alisa Melchanova, our first high school student volunteer, is back to help us unpack while she gets established in her new career as a registered nurse.

Mountains of packing materials are being generated as we unpack and Flipper Difilippo, our stalwart volunteer, helps us clean up the mess. Kimberly Sheridan is coordinating our recycling program for all the boxes, peanuts, paper and bubble wrap. WMODA guests will remember Kimberly as our Visitor Services Manager and expert museum guide and she is wearing many different hats until we reopen including administrative tasks as we settle into our new building. Visitors will also remember Jesus Reyna in the museum reception and he is now involved in all the heavy lifting of display cabinets, boxes and furniture with Omar Ferrer. Miles of glass shelves are being cleaned ready for Louise and Gregg to reset.

The Ardmore Gallery was the first to be completed thanks to expert packer, Jose Portillo, who packed up all the art at our previous location and then spent several days unpacking it in Hollywood. In addition to the spectacular display of South African ceramic art, we are creating an Ardmore Design shop where we will have a wide range of sofas, pillows, poufs, and table linens for sale. Interior designer and retail expert, Tom Bendt, has been helping us to visualize the new shopping gallery.

We are also making plans for our Studio Collection Shop and talking to artists about restocking in time for our opening. Linda Saft, who is appraising the WMODA collection, once had her own antiques business and has been advising on new opportunities with potential artists. One of our new retail spaces will be an “Old Curiosity Shop” with vintage curios and books old and new. George Hawthorn, our long-term “voluntold”, is turning his hand to many tasks including photography for this article.

We are very grateful to the volunteers and experts who are assisting us pro-bono in the Great WMODA Build-Up as well as the amazing museum staff who have adapted to all the new challenges. We look forward to seeing you again when we reopen at the end of the summer.