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Photographing and Rehousing

Perhaps our biggest challenge during this cataloging project were these sets of candlesticks and candelabra. Too tall for standard boxes, we needed to customize a much larger box to keep all of the various parts together. Each piece is fit with custom carved foam supports to stabilize the objects to make sure nothing was touching before adding cotton twill ties and gluing the foam supports into their final configuration.
Perhaps our biggest challenge during this cataloging project were these sets of candlesticks and candelabra. Too tall for standard boxes, we needed to customize a much larger box to keep all of the various parts together. Each piece is fit with custom carved foam supports to stabilize the objects to make sure nothing was touching before adding cotton twill ties and gluing the foam supports into their final configuration.

pavilion silver items Working with the wide variety of objects that make up a museum’s collection requires constant creativity. Cataloging silver from the Pavilion Collection may sound straightforward at first, but the shiny surfaces, intricate shapes, and small details are challenging to photograph. Patterns, engravings, and hallmarks can easily be obscured by strong lighting or reflections of the camera or photographer.

These photos show possible configurations as we test what will fit in a box and begin the process of carving foam supports.
These photos show possible configurations as we test what will fit in a box and begin the process of carving foam supports.

Once each object or set is photographed, rehousing can begin. Rehousing is the process of finding an object a new home and permanent location so that it can be easily accessed in the future. In the case of large objects such as furniture or trophies with custom cases, rehousing involves choosing a final location and recording the row and shelf number into the database record. Smaller objects that can be stored in enclosed boxes are much more involved. Each box is packed as efficiently as possible while making sure that the objects are fully supported and the final weight of the box is reasonable. Using archival-quality boxes and materials, each object is fully supported to distribute its weight evenly and make sure it remains in place while the box is in motion.

Final configurations involve testing different combinations and orientations of objects. Keeping groups of silverware together is straightforward even when the various groups are different lengths, but sets of objects with different shapes and sizes like the partial tea service are more complicated.

As work on the Pavilion collection continues, stay tuned here and on Fort Ticonderoga’s Facebook page for updates on the restoration, new discoveries, and more from Fort Ticonderoga every week!