Back on Display: Works from the Reserve Collection is now in its second week. Until 20 March, five intriguing objects from the Reserve Collection are taking turns in the spotlight in this free display. In this blog Dorothée Perin, on the exhibition committee, explains the unique aspects of this project.
Back on Display: Works from the Reserve Collection is quite a different type of display compared to previous ones held here at the Wallace. First of all, this is a collaborative project. The exhibition committee (as we call ourselves) is composed of a group of people from different departments in the museum: Emily works at the Front Desk and in the Shop, Carmen coordinates the Curatorial department, Simon is in the Gallery team, and Emma and myself work in the school programme in the Education department.
It’s been amazing to have the chance to work together on a project like this. The fact that we’re all doing this as a side project has posed a few logistical challenges, in particular needing to juggle everyone’s timetable to hold committee meetings. We’ve even discussed label content while taking visitor’s coats in the cloakroom and had impromptu discussions about wall colour in the middle of the galleries! But I think the project is richer because of all our different perspectives and knowledge.
We wanted to showcase objects from the Reserve Collection which have not been seen before by our visitors. We spent an afternoon in the Reserve Collection, which for some us had been the first time we’d had the chance to visit, and we had a fantastic time exploring this little known part of the Collection. We spent a lot of time discussing which five objects we thought were the best fit for this project. Each of us with our own selection criteria – whether it was having an academic interest in the object, thinking about which artwork would be the most engaging to all visitors, or which one was the most curious and surprising. We ended up voting for 5 objects out of a short list of 30.
We were also very keen to let the visitor play a part in the display. We wanted to create a space for you to be able to respond to these objects, to be creative, to observe them a little more closely or differently. Consequently, we’ve designed one or two activities to go alongside each object, and we’re hoping that you will join in to draw, write, tie knots, reminisce, embroider, and contribute to our unusual project.