Installing Inspiration

The past two weeks a huge project was under taken at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The renovation of the original Heritage Center gallery, renamed the Inspiration Gallery, was ready for the installation of artifacts. Focusing on an thematic overview of North Dakota’s history since settlers first arrived, the gallery space will house thousands of objects, from artifacts as small and fragile as pysanky eggs, to large artifacts such as a threshing and a wind power generator.

Of course, installing this large of a gallery space takes a lot of organization beforehand. The collections assistant had used a row of the new storage area to gather and sort artifacts by case so they were ready to go by the time the install team arrived. IMG_0966

Then we grabbed items on a case by case basis, carefully laying them out on a cart, with some cases taking up two or three carts. Then it’s up the elevator and into the gallery space.


Many of the larger artifacts such as a car and missile trainer had been brought in before install started.IMG_0964

After the artifacts made it up to the gallery, the install team finalized mounts and placed them into the cases.  My main responsibility was to monitor the artifacts and make sure the install team handled them correctly, but I also assisted in sewing artifacts onto mounts and dressing mannequins.

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For those in my class that are reading, remember the Taylor Studios team we met on our field trip to Champaign? They are the team that came in for installation. They designed many of the mounts and constructed the “Pixel cases” that comprise the gallery.

After about a week and half of installation, the gallery was finished. There are still a few places that need glass put in, and we are still waiting for a few artifacts to arrive from conservation studios. The gallery opens to the public on November 2, 2014 as part of the Heritage Center’s 125th statehood anniversary celebration.