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From the Vault – A Look Behind the Museum’s Closed Doors

Have you ever wondered about the artifacts or artwork that a museum has that are not often on exhibit? Like many museums, the Museum of Arts and Sciences has many more objects in its vault (over 7,000) than on exhibit.

Beginning with the first 2017 issue of the Membership newsletter, we will highlight an item or group of items from the Museum’s collection. Highlighted pieces may be artwork or artifacts not often on exhibit or things that visitors to the Museum see on a regular basis but we feel could use more explanation. Some will be works of art; others will represent areas of collecting like decorative arts, cultural artifacts, historical objects, and natural history items; still, others may be from the living collection.

The objects featured in the newsletter are selected by several staff members and others, allowing us to represent a variety of viewpoints and interests.

Pictured from left to right, top to bottom:
One of a pair of geta (A1959.01.08b)* - Geta are a form of traditional Japanese footwear. A rust-colored shoe with cloth brocade and blocks for 2” double stilts, yellow arabesques showing through red lacquer inside.

Fan (A1959.01.07) - Paper, light brown, decoration of leaves, and Japanese character.

Tabi (A1959.01.09a&b) - Tabi are traditional split -toe Japanese socks, still sold and worn by men and women in Japan today. Black cotton gabardine, lined inside with white flannel, a sole of white cotton gabardine, two toes, come just above the ankle with five metal hooks as fasteners at the heel.

Chopsticks and case (A1959.01.04a, b, c) - Dark brown square and tapering to a blunt point. The case is brown, paper imitating leather in under and over basket weave pattern. For more information about chopsticks, visit http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-chopsticks-64935342/

Chopsticks and case (A1959.01.05a, b, c) - Dark brown square and tapering to a blunt point. The case is a mixture of dark and light brown, paper imitating leather in under and over basket weave pattern.

*Accession number which indicates first the year the item was acquired, then the number of the accession within that year, and finally the number of the item within that accession.