The Great WMODA Pack Up!

By Louise Irvine

How do you pack thousands of fragile pieces of ceramics and glass? Answer: very slowly and carefully!

Behind the scenes at WMODA, we have begun to pack our massive collection of fired arts. This enormous undertaking will take several months to accomplish and we will be closing the museum on Saturday, November 19th to expand the process.

Collections Management

WMODA visitors will know that there are thousands of amazing works of art on display and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have thousands more pieces in our reserve collection and our new system for “smart” packing has been months in the planning stages.

Each object has been cataloged in our database and QR coded so that it can be scanned and tracked at our future location. Lori Brown, our database guru, is managing this process and Carolina Bermudez, our collections manager, is implementing our system with a rapidly expanding packing team.

Pottery Packing Today

Professional packers are working on the most complex pieces such as Boehm porcelain birds and Ardmore animals and they are sharing their expertise with trainees who have started with the simpler shapes. The first box was packed with a great sense of accomplishment and documented accordingly.

Customized boxes are being designed for our specialist needs and experts are assessing the requirements for our monumental works of art. Backstage, we are walled in with cardboard boxes and buried under a sea of peanuts, tissue, and bubble wrap!

Pottery Packing in the Past

As daunting as our upcoming task may be, we have come a long way since pottery packing in England during the 19th century. Pottery was piled high in baskets and then wrapped in straw for transportation in wooden barrels. Horse-drawn carts took the fragile ware to its destination along bumpy roads with hazardous potholes. To make life easier, Josiah Wedgwood advocated for a canal system for smooth sailing by water. Thankfully we now have bubble wrap and vehicles with pneumatic tires!

Stay tuned for updates on our grand re-opening on social media and keep following us Through the Looking Glass for news of our progress.

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