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A New Frontier: Trailblazing Methods to Display Ruscha Books

Forming a custom book mount

Museum Mountmaker Emily Meyer forming a custom book mount.

Heather Brown, Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation

There are seven books in the Ed Ruscha and the Great American West exhibition, which provided paper conservators the opportunity to exercise our skills in mounting books in an invisible way. Though the techniques appear simple, they required a good amount of planning and collaboration to achieve the perfect combination of physical support, visual unity, and aesthetic beauty.

September 14, 2016

How to Defy Gravity

Woman's headcover

Woman's headcover (adghar ibrdane tasslit), early to mid 20th century Morocco. Anti-Atlas, Ait Abdellah people, 61 x 33 7/16 in. FAMSF, museum purchase, Textile Arts Council Endowment Fund

Anne Getts, Mellon Assistant Textiles Conservator

On the Grid: Textiles & Minimalism, currently on view in the Textiles Gallery at the de Young, presented the textile conservation lab with a variety of mounting challenges. Among these challenges was determining the ideal way to display a dip-dyed and hand painted Moroccan woman’s headcover, or adghar ibrdane tasslit, with a bulky tassel located at each of the four corners.

September 2, 2016

Definitely Not Boring Brown: the Legion of Honor’s BVRB Writing Table

Catherine Coueignoux is an associate object conservator with an expertise in furniture conservation. In this post from the object conservation lab, she discusses a decorative technique known as marquetry used in the making of an 18th-century French writing table.

November 13, 2014

Mounting the Weisel Family Collection

The Thomas Weisel Family’s recent gift of Native American art is comprised in large part of pottery, including rare Mimbres pieces that date back to the 11th century. Approximately 50 pieces of Mimbres and Pueblo pottery will be on view in the upcoming exhibition, Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection, which highlights the gift. Pottery presents an interesting set of challenges when being considered for display, especially here in earthquake country. Our team of mount makers has been busily crafting custom-made mounts for each pot slated to go on view when the exhibition opens this Saturday, May 3.

A painted pot sits on a riser while a female technician adjusts its base

April 30, 2014

Animation Collaboration

This post was written by Erica Wong and Brinker Ferguson

Digital media interpretive fellow Brinker Ferguson and graphic designer Erica Wong recently worked together to create a 2D animation geared toward school-age children in association with The Salon Doré: Conservation of a Period Room. One of the first endeavors of its kind at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, this animation was put together jointly by Brinker and Erica. This is their story.

December 10, 2013

A Conservation Triumph: 1994–2013

For the first time ever, three prized tapestries from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s permanent collection will be exhibited together in the Legion of Honor’s Gallery 1. The entire series, known as The Triumph of the Seven Virtues, consists of seven tapestries that depict allegorical representations of the theological virtues—Faith, Hope, and Charity—and the cardinal virtues—Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude. While 10 museums in Europe, the United States, and Russia possess tapestries from this series, the Fine Arts Museums have The Triumph of Fortitude, The Triumph of Prudence, and the only extant example of The Triumph of Justice.

The monumental tapestry (and the only one of its kind) The Triumph of Justice

Triumph of Justice from The Triumph of the Seven Virtues Series, ca. 1535. Belgium, Brussels, Flemish. Wool, silk; tapestry weave. Gift of The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. 1957.125

August 29, 2013

3D Printing a Custom Support for an 18th-century French Clock

3D scanning and printing have made their mark on popular culture in the past couple of years with eye-catching headlines like “Researchers Closing in on Printing 3D Hearts” and “Tools of Modern Gunmaking.” Many museums have also started using 3D printing to foster greater engagement and creativity between their visitors and collections. As a cultural institution, one of the main challenges when experimenting with new technologies is to understand and evaluate how it can be used to benefit or bolster our collection and mission, and try to get beyond the initial “whoa—that’s cool!” factor.

The MakerBot

August 23, 2013


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