The Northwestern College Magazine
DAN OBERSCHULTE RESTORES “RUN BEFORE THE WIND” BY MADONNA WALTERS BALLANCE, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, CREATED IN 1980.
BEYOND THE EXHIBITIONS
Dennos shifts focus to collections preservation
Executive Director and Chief Curator Craig Hadley, the fact that 90 percent of nearly 3,000 works of art are out of public sight doesn’t mean they’re out of mind. Since 2019 he’s signifcantly stepped up the museum’s resources to care for and preserve paintings, prints, photos, sculptures and other works of art entrusted to its care.
“Part of our professional and ethical duty is to care for works of art according to the professional standards of the feld,” Hadley said. “That’s what fundamentally sets a museum apart from a gallery.” Recent plans and improvements, paid for with more than $66,000 in grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and the National Endowment for the Humanities, include:
What percent of the Dennos Museum Center’s collection is on display at any time?
• Four new oversized painting storage racks.
• New equipment to monitor and maintain humidity, temperature and light exposure in the museum for optimal art preservation.
• Participation in the Museum Assessment Program administered by the American Alliance of Museums. Care of collections is one area of evaluation in the assessment, a frst step toward museum accreditation.
• Participation in the national Conservation Assessment Program this year. Assessment includes recommendations for repairs and improvements.
Hadley, who serves as an accreditation site reviewer at other museums, said that at least half the on-site time is spent reviewing collection storage.
“Care of collections is a top priority for us,” he said. “If we want to curate an exhibition, loan works of art, or establish donor confdence, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has rigorous standards that you have to meet.”
"IN THE NIGHT SKY", MARY PITSEOLAK, 1961, BEFORE CONSERVATION. GLUED TO ITS BACKING, THE ACID IN BOTH GLUE AND BACKING BOARD WERE ACCELERATING THE DETERIORATION OF THE PRINT.
"IN THE NIGHT SKY" AFTER CONSERVATION BY THE JOEL OPPENHEIMER GALLERY IN CHICAGO.
Hadley has a five-year plan to reconfigure collection storage, which aligns with the timeline to seek AAM accreditation by 2025-26. Collections care tasks can overlap with exhibition and programming, too. Last year the Dennos’ signature Inuit print collection, for instance, was completely inventoried for the first time since Northwestern Michigan College began collecting them in the 1960s. The inventory identified pieces for restoration, like "In the Night Sky" (below.) That 1961 work on paper is now hanging in the Power Family Gallery at the Dennos, as well as digitized for online access.
About 30 percent of the collection is now available online. All 3,000 Dennos works are slated for digitization by 2026. That means no work will ever be out of sight to the public, even if it is stored.
“We’ve never had that before,” Hadley said.
CLIMATE CHANGE ON VIEW THIS SUMMER
WORLD WITHOUT ICE
Installation view of World Without Ice.
Image courtesy of the artists.
World Without Ice
THROUGH JULY 24
Part science, part music, part art, this collaboration is a groundbreaking, thought-provoking and compelling multisensory experience focusing on Earth’s changing climate. It takes its inspiration from University of Michigan geophysicist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Pollack’s book of the same name, which analyzed climate change science.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT II Jeff Frost, 20160623 LakeFire Milky Way Overlook 35mm d800e 8147. 2016,
Photograph, archival inkjet. ©
Environmental IMPACT II
JUNE 25 - SEPT. 4
Traditional art genres generally depict the natural world in beautiful, often pristine conditions. The works in this exhibition seek to heighten public attention and concern about environmental degradation as well as the unintended consequences of human interaction with nature and neglect.