The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Pardon Our Appearance....

Pardon our appearance while we prepare for our new gallery in the second floor lobby…

We are about to install the first of a series of changing exhibitions in our new MHS “Treasures Gallery,” an intimate space designed to highlight the extraordinary materials in our collection.  The art and sculpture have been cleared from the area and the Saltonstall Gun, our noble War of 1812 cannon, and “Paul and Virginie,” our pair of 18th century polychrome lead garden statues, have been moved across the landing in preparation for painting and the construction of display walls.

How does one move a 1,200-pound cannon and lead sculptures with fragile antique wire armatures?  Very gingerly.  A four-man team from U.S. Art Company, Inc. carefully positioned the cannon on heavy plastic before cinching it with straps and slowly hauling it across the marble floor to position it against the stair rail. Levers, shims, protective foam, and blankets all came into play as each phase of the move was planned and executed.

The MHS staff has moved the garden statues several times in the past: an unnerving experience which convinced us that they are best left to the professionals.  The U.S. Art team shrink-wrapped each sculpture base to its wooden plinth, then eased the heavy plastic sheet under the plinth and secured it to a winch attached to a marble column. 

With guardians to monitor the sculpture for any untoward movement, each statue was slowly pulled across the room, inch by inch, until the crew could position the sculpture by hand and lever out the plastic sheet.

After rehanging the front stair art, the crew was done and our space cleared for the next step to prepare the gallery for the first of our Treasures exhibitions, “’Like a Wolf for the Prey’: The Massachusetts Historical Society Collection Begins,” scheduled to open in the fall. Keep your eye on our website for more details.

permalink | Published: Tuesday, 26 July, 2011, 8:00 AM


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