Like Snowflakes in a Blizzard

cases2Moving the permanent collection into a brand new building begs for new casework to put the objects onto and into. The aesthetic of the new building is sleek and modern, and this dictates the style of casework. The new cases are similar to our existing cases by just enough to refurbish many and yet different enough to demand a good bit of attention in the carpentry shop.

We have begun the long process of construction of each of these new cases–148 in total. In fact, we are deep into it. The measuring, cutting, building, and painting will be complete by the end of June and the cases will wait for their debut in their new home next spring.

This sleek modern aesthetic of the new building also dictates the color we paint things. Everything is white. But not just any white, it is called Super White. And it is WHITE. Every case, pedestal, wall case, platform, and plinth is painted white.

Our storage area looks like a bank of fresh snow that’s waist deep, but if you look closely you’ll see that every piece is slightly different, built to exacting specifications for each particular work of art. All these cases are much like snow flakes in a blizzard… each one is unique and there are so many in one place!

Kathryn Briggs is the Exhibition Production Assistant. She helps build snowflakes that make up the blizzard of casework in the new gallery building. The storm begins in April 2010.


  1. dave
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff Kathryn! Thanks for posting!

  2. David Parker
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m worried. The Nasher Museum at Duke is all white, which is great for the modern art, but awful for the older works. The current NCMA beautifully displays all those older works now, but I’m worried that the new building is going to be as bad as the Nasher. Tell me there will be some color somewhere in there!

  3. Shannon
    Posted April 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, David. I’m a designer here at the NCMA and can’t say there is any color (other than black text and silver hardware) in the new building. The hope is that the super-clean, super-white galleries in the expansion building will be a completely new and refreshing experience for our visitors. At the very least, I think we’ll learn something about how our visitors feel about the new way we’re displaying our collection. I hope that you’ll give it a chance and come to see us next year after the new galleries open!

  4. Rick Pardue
    Posted May 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Reynolda House’s (Winston-Salem)new modern gallery space has white walls. In my view, the historical paintings hung in this space are somehow diminished. They look smaller than they appear when hanging in the mansion.

    All of the great collections of Old Master paintings in the USA are hung against colored walls or textiles of color. A few museums have panaled galleries.

    I’m afraid the new NCMA’s planners have made the celebration of light the object of their designs instead of the utiliaztion of light for the enhanced viewing of art.

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] begets new” at the NCMA. The construction of our new museum building not only necessitates fresh casework and specifically designed lighting systems, but it also has provided us with a unique opportunity [...]

  2. [...] that houses the Museum’s extensive objects collection is several decades oldĀ and is being updated, refurbished, and restyled for the beautiful new gallery environments. But out of an entire museum filled with cases this also [...]

  3. [...] a year and a half ago we started building cases and bases. These past two weeks they were wrapped, padded and moved. Now they are in their new home awaiting [...]

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