Installing Sunken Cities at the Saint Louis Art Museum
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Installing Sunken Cities at the Saint Louis Art Museum

This isn’t the standard art museum show. This show really brings to life this ancient
civilization. If you’re interested in jewelry, if you’re
interested in sculpture, if you’re interested in history or religion, there is just so many
different layers and so I think there’s really something for everybody. Sunken Cities:Egypt’s Lost Worlds is an epic
international exhibit debuting for the first time in North America at the Saint Louis Art
Museum. More than 200 authentic artifacts recently
discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea are on view alongside ancient Egyptian
masterpieces that have never been exhibited in the United States. Logistically the installation was no small
feat, taking months of meticulous planning. The scale of this exhibition was a little
bit bigger than most. We have beautiful new exhibition galleries
in the East Building but this exhibition brought a lot of volume in number of objects as well
as the weight of objects. So we expanded into our permanent collection
galleries to accommodate room for the exhibition. The challenges were many. All you have to do is look around and you’ll
see just the size of some of these objects. Several statues are more than 17 feet tall
requiring unique handling and special equipment. We had cranes to use to get the crates into
the building. We had three gantries, which are like a metal
bridge with chains. Each colossi took three gantries to move. Those gantries were also very useful in the exhibition space. I think it’s exciting to see what’s entailed
with a major exhibition like this; how much work it involves, how many people it takes
to put something together like this. I’m fascinated to see that they discovered
something that is so in tact and they can let us come and look at it and oh and ah! This is a pretty big deal. I’ve been here 15 years and I’ve never seen
so much anticipation for a show like this. As an Egyptologist I’m always really excited
to see Egyptian collection, especially coming out of Egypt we haven’t seen before, reaching
the States and reaching the Midwest. I think there’s a lot of people here who wouldn’t
otherwise have had the opportunity to see some of these artifacts. Understanding the history and context as well
as their beauty and their sort of awesomeness. Specially designed cases were constructed
to match the aesthetics of the gallery design and to highlight these important works, even
the tiniest of golden objects. Wall colors and wall graphics were carefully
selected to convey moods and themes. It really takes a village. It really involves every single part of the
museum to kind of make sure that everything is where it is supposed to be, everything
has the interpretation it is supposed to have. Anything you can think of, we’ve got someone
thinking about it. I’m really proud to have been a part of this
installation and bringing this exhibition here. It’s a once in a lifetime exhibition to see
and certainly has been one to install. It’s very exciting to have been part of it.

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