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Author Topic:   The Problem with Services
Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Newark Museum has a bunch of wonderful tea and coffee services--five or more pieces--from the 1820s through to the 1920s. When we set up our gallery for silver for 2010, I know I won't be able to show the entire services (or we'd fill the room with just services). Should I always just show the MOST IMPORTANT (?) piece--i.e. the tea kettle or the coffee pot; or would it be admissable to choose just the creamer and sugar? I suppose the waste bowl is never going to appear in a limited space situation. Any advise.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Include photos of the entire sets. Also close ups of interesting details & marks. If space is a problem put the photos in a gallery album.

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Posts: 418
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for adelapt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like Scott's idea, but suggest that showing items in pairs might be useful. That way they show the style in two different objects, such as creamer & sugar, which can be juxtaposed. I can see the attraction of single major items, so a judicious use of singles and pairs may be a good compromise.

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Posts: 798
Registered: Apr 2008

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agphile     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott's suggestion makes sense.

It would be nice if you could show one or two complete services, then either the most eye-catching individual items from the rest or the same item, teapot or whatever, which makes comparisons easier.

However, any comment from me is wistful unless I somehow manage to fix a trip across the Atlantic when the time comes, so perhaps I should just keep quiet.

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just tell the museum staff that they are now under your control and they must surrender all their spaces to SILVER. That should do the trick.

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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-21-2009 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would think (not knowing your entire plan for the room) that one service should be chosen, so there would be a context for the pieces in relation to each other. Another way to approach it might be to make up a composite service, with one different piece from each set (I'm not sure I like this idea, though). Either one would leave you more room for other sorts of objects.

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Posts: 252
Registered: May 2006

iconnumber posted 11-22-2009 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since every tea set takes up approx. the same space, why not alternate and give people the chance to see eventually all of the tea sets in the museum's collection. Just a thought...... this way cleaning could be done, when a set is not on display.

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Posts: 350
Registered: Dec 2006

iconnumber posted 11-22-2009 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for seaduck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would select one or two tea sets to show in their entirety. If two, I would go for the showiest, most over-the-top set from the late 19th c, and pair it with an early set circa 1800 -- not only would you be showing the evolution of the form, but you could also discuss the shift in technique as well as social/cultural customs and context. (You can even bring it to the 21st century by noting that most people today seem to use the waste bowls for packets of sugar substitute!)

And then I would consider selecting one form and focusing on multiple representations of it from various sets. Teapot, or creamer, for example. Teapots are more iconic. Or a combination: three teapots, three creamers, all from different sets.

And then I would develop an online gallery, showing absolutely everything! You could have a touchscreen in the gallery so people who are really interested could explore more, and those of us who are a distance away could explore it all at home.

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Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-22-2009 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good ideas all. I will try to get pictures up here. Remember that this gallery is about eighteen feet square. But I like the idea of showing two services in toto--one early and one late; and then pieces from other services alongside to fill out the idea. The notion of grouping creamers and/or sugar bowls over time is excellent.

My dilemma is increased by the physical number of things to choose from. We have some tremendous invidivual weird objects--a fabulous Gorham Martele cup from 1905; a pair of art modern candelabra by Tiffany from the 1939 World's Fair; plus a bunch of 2009 gifts that I need to show somehow somewhere soon. I particularly like the idea of taking over the minds of the entire staff and making them all give me their exhibition space.

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Posts: 728
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 11-22-2009 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sure that we'd be happy to serve as a jury if you want help winnowing down the choices!

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-25-2009 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At some long ago time I seem to recall an unusual display arrangement. Wall space was used as well as display cases. This is where it takes a twist. Flat panels were suspended from the ceiling over the display cases. These were, if I remember correctly, two sheets of plastic just thick enough to display knives, spoons, forks and other small thin items. Both sides of the items could be viewed. They were the width of the display case over which they were positioned.

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