January has been a whirlwind of activity – museum exhibits, book releases, teaching, and research have filled my days. As next week is the official opening of the exhibit, “Lincoln and the Technology of War,” at the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington, D.C., I really should update everyone about the work that went into that project. You can read more about my experience of joining the installation crew of curator Steven Wilson and archivist Michelle Ganz in an upcoming edition of the Lincoln Herald. You can also read more about the project as a whole by clicking here.
Where did I experience the Polar Vortex of 2014? On the streets of our nation’s capital. That is not something that is immediately evident in this picture of Ford’s Theatre, taken from inside the Center for Education and Leadership. If you saw me run from those doors to the van just a few moments after this picture was posted to the museum’s Facebook page, however, you would understand just how cold it was.
The first task was placing the artwork and prints throughout the gallery. Once that was completed, we could focus on putting together the very nice, very portable plexiglass display fixtures that we brought with us from Harrogate.
While Steven and I balanced prints and squinted at the mechanics of the fixtures, Michelle busily tagged the items that we brought with us and placed 3-D items into each item’s proper location.
Michelle did a lovely job of placing the items, particularly the carte de visites.
I have never begun work on an exhibit believing that the layout would eventually look as good as the blueprint. This is especially true after the first two hours of any installation, when wrapping materials, tools, and construction debris are everywhere. In this particular case, I thought that the displays and the space came together perfectly in the end.
Here were the last few items that we carted off on the final day of vacuuming, wiping away dust, and adjusting the lighting. A good two-and-a-half days of work and the job was complete.
If you are in the D.C. area between January 14, 2014, and July 6, 2014, be certain to stop by!