The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Museum Collection's Storage System Revolutionized by Collaboration
For the past 100 years, the standard in storing and transporting artworks has been wood crates, which block curators, conservators and registrars from seeing objects while in storage and also emit low levels of sulfur that can be damaging to artworks.

HOUSON, TX.- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Rice University unveiled today a working prototype of a system that has the potential to revolutionize storage practices in the field of art conservation. For the past 100 years, the standard in storing and transporting artworks has been wood crates, which block curators, conservators and registrars from seeing objects while in storage and also emit low levels of sulfur that can be damaging to artworks. Due to the groundbreaking work of four Rice University undergraduate students who participated in an inaugural Engineering and Design for Art and Artifact (EDAAC) program at Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, a more conservation- and archival-friendly storage solution has been developed. Their innovative system allows three-dimensional art objects to remain visible and secure within a skeletal structure (made of materials approved by art conservators), and creates a safer, more visible environment for the work. In addition, the system enables quick assembly of the object housing, as the components can be easily assembled and disassembled—much like Tinker Toys or Erector Sets—yet still allows customization of securing and protecting the object within the structure.

“The prototype storage system that the EDAAC students designed has the potential to transform the way museums around the nation conserve, store, and move artwork. It is a major accomplishment,” said MFAH director Dr. Peter C. Marzio. “When different communities work together for the greater good, it is possible to achieve results beyond what any one institution could do. This project is the latest to come from a long-standing and successful history of partnership between the MFAH and Rice University.”

“I love the fact that our team had students in humanities and art history as well as engineering,” said Sallie Keller, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Rice's George R. Brown School of Engineering. “This project went beyond my wildest imagination in terms of what they accomplished. It's a really exciting time to build a strong programmatic connection, not only in the storage of artifacts but also in this whole interplay among art, science, engineering and technology.”

Out of a pool of over 30 applicants, four Rice undergraduate students were awarded fellowships from the university's Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), initiating research to apply the engineering design process to pressing problems in art conservation. As part of the inaugural EDAAC program—an interdisciplinary course taught from a humanities and engineering standpoint—the students worked with Rice University and MFAH staff to develop a standardized storage system to house three-dimensional artworks.

During an intensive, nine-week summer semester, undergraduate students Caleb Brown (bioengineering and visual and dramatic arts), Rhodes Coffey (mechanical engineering), Kristi Day (civil engineering) and Nicole Garcia (chemical engineering) spent 40 hours per week investigating art conservation storage solutions. The team was guided by Dr. Matthew Wettergreen, Caroline Collective, and Dr. Maria Oden, Professor in the Practice of Engineering Education.

The EDAAC class made several trips to the MFAH during the course of the summer, where they met with Wynne Phelan, Conservation Director, and Julie Bakke, Chief Registrar, to tour existing storage facilities, discuss preventative conservation, and learn how and why artworks are moved. The students also shadowed MFAH art handlers on weekly truck runs, observing the transportation of artworks. After their on-site studies in museum conservation and storage concluded, MFAH staff invited each student to design a storage solution for one artwork of their choice.

The students’ engineering design progress is well-documented on their Web site:

In addition, the students took a summer entrepreneurship course, sponsored by Innovation Norway, to complete business plans for their new product. The plans detail market size, cost analysis, a marketing plan and competitive analysis.

Four Storage Solutions
Prototype storage solutions have been designed for the following artworks: a bronze sculpture, titled "The Bronco Buster" (1895), by Frederic Remington; Medardo Rosso’s "Head of a Child" (The Jewish Boy), a wax and plaster sculpture created c. 1892; Antonio Berni’s "La sordidez" (Sordidness) de la serie Monstruos cósmicos (from the series Cosmic Monsters)—a sculpture made of wood, steel, iron, aluminum, cardboard, plastic, roots, nails and enamel c. 1964; and a cyanotype, paper, and thread dress, titled "History Dress #1" (from the series Identity Clothing) (2007-08), by Ginger Owen-Murakami.

The Museum of Fine Arts | Engineering and Design for Art and Artifact | Dr. Peter C. Marzio | Sallie Keller |

Today's News

October 22, 2009

FIAC to Offer 25 Museum-Quality Artworks with Multimillion-Dollar Price Tags

Rocco Landesman Announces "Art Works" Tour, First Stop: Illinois

Rubens Challenges the Old Masters at the Alte Pinakothek

Peter Greenaway's New Film Offers Fierce Criticism of Today's Visual Illiteracy

Important and Iconic Works from the Masters of Asian Art at Christie's

Guggenheim in Bilbao Celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright with Exhibition

Museum Collection's Storage System Revolutionized by Collaboration

Bust of Roman Emperor Caracalla for Sale at Bonhams

Wayne Hemingway Invites an Army of Local DJs to Take Over Tate Liverpool

Guggenheim and Google Announce Winners of Global Design Competition

Christie's to Present an Important Auction of Orientalist Masterpieces in London

Major Exhibition to Paint a New Picture of Queen Victoria

MFAH Secures First European Presentation of Adolpho Leirner Collection

James Ensor's Profound Paintings on View at Musée d'Orsay

Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt Shows Photographs by Barbara Klemm

First Solo Exhibition in Paris for Tris Vonna-Michell at Jeu de Paume

British Museum Opens Revolution on Paper: Mexican Prints 1910-1960

Bust of Radical Lawmaker Passed to the National Museum Cardiff

Archaeologists Unveil Ancient Auditorium in Rome

Museum Presents Retrospective Exploring the Achievement of Arshile Gorky

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Morgan receives a major Renoir drawing unseen for over 50 years

2.- A rare piece of U.S. paper money estimated at $2 million highlights Stack's Bowers Galleries auction

3.- $578K Rolex tops Morphy's $4 million Fine & Decorative Arts & Jewelry Auction

4.- Haunted by colonial past, Belgium's Africa museum reopens after revamp

5.- National Gallery of Canada acquires The Foursome (The Partie Carrée) by James Tissot

6.- Spectacular show presents magical and dream-like atmospheres by Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo

7.- National Gallery of Art elects Kaywin Feldman as its fifth Director, succeeding Earl A. Powell III

8.- National Portrait Gallery to stage major new exhibition on the women who shaped Pre-Raphaelite art

9.- Unique exhibition on Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck opens in Turin

10.- Exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum presents works by Victor Vasarely

Related Stories

Spain's cultural treasures on exclusive U.S. tour from the Prado, Madrid, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

MFA Houston Announces First Carlos Cruz-Diez Retrospective

Museum of Fine Arts Receives $10 Million Gift from Bank of America

MFA Houston Commissions Artist Cai Guo-Qiang to Create Gunpowder Drawing

MFA Houston Announces Acquisition of Over 160 Decorative Arts Objects

MFA Houston Announces Acquisition of Over 160 Decorative Arts Objects

German Impressionism Presented at the MFA Houston September 2010

Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts Presents Painting by German Artist Max Klinger

Crop of Core 2010 Artists and Scholars Unveil Year's Worth of Original New Work in Highly Anticipated, Annual Exhibition

Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig Focuses Exhibition on Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Drawings

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful