Emory Report

 November 10, 1997

 Volume 50, No. 12

Get a rare glimpse behind the
scenes at museum open house

Why are museums cold and dark? What's behind all those locked doors? What do they keep in their storage rooms? Who are all those people running around with white gloves on? And, most importantly, why can't we touch anything?

In celebration of "The Art of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions at the Michael C. Carlos Museum" (Nov. 8, 1997 through Jan. 4, 1998) visitors can get answers to these and any other questions they have about how museums operate, as the Carlos Museum opens its labs and storage rooms for a unique series of educational programs. Rather than a traditional opening, the museum will sponsor a daylong "open" open house from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, for members and visitors to explore parts of the museum not ordinarily open to the public. Light refreshments will be served throughout the day.

There will be opportunities to tour the museum's storage rooms and speak with curators and registrars about collections, their histories and the objects that don't make it into the galleries. A visit to the conservation lab will provide insight into activities that preserve objects in the museum's care. Guests also will be able speak to members of the exhibition design department for a glimpse into their work behind the scenes.

Entertainment will include a visual and aural treat-an Egyptian gallery performance of Aida by the Capital City Opera. In addition, live bluegrass and classical music will be performed throughout the afternoon. Children's activities will reflect the museum's holdings and will include making Egyptian mummy masks and Grecian column hats. In addition, there will be a contest for children to design the 1997-98 school tours museum sticker. Demonstrations of the Carlos' award-winning website and database will round out the afternoon event.

The museum also will sponsor a four-part public lecture series on art conservation. Local art conservators who work with paintings, paper and objects will talk about past and present projects and answer questions about preventative care of collections.

The exhibition itself highlights significant new additions to the museum's permanent collection and will provide an opportunity to display just a small portion of the more than 1,500 objects that have entered the Carlos permanent collection since 1993. Since that time, the Carlos has acquired a major collection of sub-Saharan African art, important new works of art on paper, a beautiful collection of ancient American metals, and significant additions to the classical Greek and Roman and ancient Near Eastern collections.

Museums exist to collect for the purposes of preservation and education; the "art" of collecting is conserving, storing, studying, displaying and teaching. Through educating the public about all aspects of what museums do, the public will be strong advocates for those institutions devoted to the preservation of natural and cultural treasures.

For more information, call 727-6118.

-Joy Bell

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