When walking through the galleries or strolling the grounds, have you ever wondered who installs the awe-inspiring artwork? Working almost exclusively behind the scenes, art handlers are responsible for physically overseeing all art movement and gallery installations at the museum. The six art handlers on this team have 87 years of collective experience working directly with our encyclopedic collection. Every day, they put their extensive knowledge of tools, equipment, hardware, installation techniques, and handling skills to use to ensure the collection is safe and accessible to the public while on view. When not installing in the galleries, they can be found bringing artwork to the photo studio to be digitized for inclusion in Collection Online, to the conservation labs for treatment, to the study rooms for curatorial and collection research, and more.
In addition to featuring artwork in its galleries, the CMA lends objects to institutions all over the world for exhibitions. We are fortunate to have in-house packing specialist Chris Elveru, who is well versed in the most current packing methods and materials required to safely ship artwork. Whether for three miles down the road by truck or 3,000 miles by air, each piece is assessed for custom packing. Thankfully, the museum industry has moved away from packing peanuts and straw for cushioning. We now utilize archival, shock-absorbent materials that reduce possible damage caused by vibration and off-gassing from unstable packing materials.