The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), has been awarded a prestigious grant of $102,811 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the conservation of some 900 silver alloy works of art in the permanent collection.
“The IMLS grant supports the care of the extensive MFAH silver collection,” said Gary Tinterow, director, MFAH. “Our long-term preservation plan addresses the entire silver collection, ranging from 17th-century serving pieces and flatware to cutting-edge silver jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection, and will provide increased public accessibility to the collection. We are thankful to the IMLS for their support, allowing us to better preserve our cultural heritage.”
Most of the silver objects in the MFAH collection are currently wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and inserted in polyurethane bags, which restricts visibility and access, since it requires the works to be handled in order to be viewed. In addition, the objects are stored in various spaces spread throughout the MFAH campus. The IMLS grant allows the MFAH to establish a centralized location for its 898 silver works of art near the decorative arts conservation lab and for their installation within 17 newly purchased storage cabinets. These sealed, museum-quality storage spaces provide specialized, sulfur-free environments.
The MFAH will develop workshops and tours on the topic of caring for fine- and decorative-arts objects made of silver, covering everything from handling, cleaning, photographing, displaying and properly storing such works. Lectures, special events and presentations will also be announced, and will make the collection more accessible to both scholars and the public.
The project will also enhance research of the MFAH collection, particularly the American Silver catalogue and exhibition, currently scheduled for November 2013.
The MFAH is just one of 31 institutions to receive a conservation project support grant from the IMLS this year, chosen from 128 applicants.
About the IMLS
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, the IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit www.imls.gov.
About the MFAH
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 64,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present.