Inside the Collection

How do you package and send glass objects to Washington State ?

Photograph of Glass diorama, 'Little Known Facts'
2005/188/1 Glass diorama, ‘Little Known Facts’, glass, designed and made by Tom Moore, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 2004

Very carefully. This was the dilemma that 2 conservators and 2 registrars were recently faced with. To ensure a safe transit, each of the beautiful delicate glass objects has had a padded acid –free box made for it.

A crate has been designed to carefully cushion these boxes within it and a professional freight company will ensure it is safely handled to and from the time seven objects leave the Powerhouse Museum to the time they arrive and are installed at the exhibition venue, the Museum of Glass in Washington State, USA.

Photograph of boxed glass inside the crate
Boxed glass inside the crate

The glass objects were brush vacuumed, washed in a non-ionic detergent, rinsed twice in de-ionised water and patted dry. They were then carefully measured and templates were drawn up to help construct the bespoke, acid-free cardboard boxes. The most important function of each box is to protect the glass in transit. As the Powerhouse Museum is not sending a courier with this loan, the instructions for the packing and unpacking process had to be very clear and easy to manage for staff unfamiliar with the fragile objects. Once the outside of the boxes were made, the insides had to be constructed to hold the glass object in place. Stable, black ethafoam has been used to line and pad the boxes. This foam can be carved with a blade into a required shape.

Photograph of glass kettle in case
Glass kettle from the front and above in its carefully crafted case.

To protect the objects from sitting directly on the foam, an extra cushion of dacron wadding was made. This was covered with washed white cotton muslin and was sewn into the ethafoam base, sides and top.

Images showing the process of packing the glass into a box
Images showing the process of packing the glass into a box

Once the boxes were constructed, they were sent to the crate manufacturer so the crate could be made to the exact box specifications with extra padding added to absorb any possible shocks during the transport.

Photograph of two glass objects in their cases ready for travel
Two glass objects in their cases ready for travel

The glass objects were transported in April for the opening in early May. The Powerhouse Museum is delighted to be loaning these objects to the Museum of Glass for inclusion in their exhibition Links: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest, which will be on display from 17 May 2013 to 26 January 2014.

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