Housing: Japanese smoking set
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The Walters Art Museum
Using the Japanese smoking set (accession #73.74) as a guide, I designed a housing system for approximately 60 smoking sets housed in five flat file drawers. This design was included in Meg Craft’s Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America: Collections Stewardship Grant, which was completed mid-November 2014. The grant encompasses the creation of storage housings for objects in the collection with articulated multiple parts including jewelry, hanging lamps, and these smoking pouches. Throughout this project I consulted with Meg, Abigail Quandt (Head of Book and Paper Conservation), Vincent Carney (Conservation Technician in the Book and Paper Lab), and Meredith Davey (Conservation Division Assistant), on various topics such as housing design, appropriate materials, and conservation suppliers. This project also provided the opportunity to work with Assistant Registrar Danielle Bennett, the Associate Registrar for Collection Management, to design a solution that suited her needs. Danielle preferred individual housing units so each object can be handled and sorted individually, and perhaps stacked if necessary.
After all the consultations, internet research on materials and other housing solutions, and creating mock-ups, the final housing solution for the smoking purses was arrived at. The design provides non-abrasive support for the object and easy access while reducing overall handling. After my trials I found that Tyvek was too slippery, and Volara provided enough non-abrasive support and traction to securely hold the purse. Tyvek was found to be a good non-abrasive barrier between components, where it sits between the metal links and leather pipe case. A simple support for the netsuke prevents the metal connecting pin from abrading the ivory, and metal links are able to hang freely from other metal elements. The folded box construction eliminates the use of adhesive and the twill tape handles allow the Volara-lined tray to be lifted out, providing easy access to the object.
This object also underwent treatment.