A Little Chaos, A Lot of Fun

It would seem that I have no free time anymore – if I have a spare hour or two between classes I find myself at the museum, learning to make object labels or copyediting didactic texts. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Behind the scenes people are a little harried, but to my inexperienced student-curator eyes things seem to be moving along pretty well. Today, for example, I was taught to use the machine that creates the labels that go on the wall beside each work of art. The process goes something like this:

1. Someone types up the text of the label and prints it out on thick photo paper; the background to the text is matched to the color of the wall it will be mounted on.

2. The individual labels are placed on pieces of foam board which have special adhesive paper on top (so it goes: foam board, paper, label text). Usually several labels are put together on one square of foam board, which involves some jigsaw puzzle skills – the idea is to utilize as much of the foam board as possible, so nothing gets wasted.

3. Next the awesome adhesive machine thingie (I have no idea what it’s actually called) gets warmed up. Each foam-paper-text conglomerate is placed into this machine, between two blue cardboard rectangles, and allowed to “bake” for 60-90 seconds. The heat makes the special adhesive paper attach the label text to the foam board.

4. When the time is up, each label needs to cool for a couple minutes. Then they’re ready to be chopped up with a paper cutter, have their edges angled, and have sticky squares attached to the back so that they can be placed on the walls.

So yeah…that process was one of the cooler things I learned today. Not that the things I learned about in my actual classes (for example, the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s, Merlin’s prophecies as written by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and the difference between religiousness and religious-mindedness) aren’t interesting. But you get what I’m saying.

Anyway, since I doubt any of you actually cared about any of the above, here are some dreadfully exciting new photos!


On the left you can see some foam boards with label texts, waiting to be “baked” in the awesome machine on the right.

A plinth containing a beaded cradleboard, along with a reproduced photo of Lois Smokey (the only female member of the Kiowa Five) as a baby in a cradleboard. I <3 Lois. She deserves more love.

This sign is just so great. “Pardon Our Dust”? Awesome. I hope they let me keep it after the exhibit’s all ready.

The main gallery (with, as you can see, all the artwork hung up!), where some of the docents held a meeting this afternoon.

More of the gallery; here you can see some of the light fixtures, waiting to be installed.

Zac and me attaching sticky squares to the backs of finished labels before placing them in front of their respective works of art.


About Rachel Isadore Steinberg

I'm Rachel. I'm a writer, a reader, a tea drinker, a tree climber, a dog lover, a journaler, a wonderer, a wanderer, an advocate, a believer, and a baker.
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