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Things We Did at the Museum This Summer

We listened to lots of stories...

Storytime visitors listened to 28 stories.jpg

Storytime visitors heard stories connected to 24 works of art in the museum this summer.

We had over 1800 Storytime visitors!.jpg

We had over 1800 Storytime visitors!

Congratulations to Isabella our Storytime Grand Prize Winner.jpg

Congratulations to Isabella, our Storytime Grand Prize winner! She won a copy of all 24 books read during Storytime.

We told our own stories...

Sharing the Past visitors from Bethesda Gardens at the Amon Carter_0.jpg

Residents from Bethesda Gardens enjoyed our Sharing the Past program on the second Thursday of each month. We have been known to sing and tell jokes too!

We were inspired by the Amon Carter’s collection to create our own art…

Crafting from the Collection program inspires creative thinking.jpg

Our program Crafting from the Collection program inspired creative thinkers.

Family programs offer lots of chances to make art.jpg

All of our family programs offered lots of chances to make art.

And to teach others to share new ideas…

Over 700 teachers developed techniques for using art as primary sources this summer.jpg

Over 700 teachers developed techniques for using art as a primary source this summer.

And to top it all off, we had a BIG PARTY!

Over 4500 of our good friends joined us for 50Fest, our 50th Anniversary Celebration.jpg

Over 4500 of our good friends joined us for 50Fest, our 50th Anniversary celebration!

There were cakes for voting on.jpg

There were cakes to vote for…

And cake for eating.jpg

…and cake for eating…

And hotdogs too.jpg

…and hot dogs too.

Dancing at 50Fest.jpg

We did some dancing...

Hula-hooping and bubble-blowing at 50Fest.jpg

…we hula hooped and blew bubbles…

We had fun with art.jpg

We had fun looking at art…

Making art at 50Fest.jpg

…and making our own art.

Brady Sloan-our tireless Public Programs Manager-makes everyone feel welcome at the Amon Carter.jpg

Brady Sloane, our tireless Public Programs Manager, made everyone feel welcome at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

The Allure of Paper: Conservation

As the paper conservator at the Amon Carter, I oversee the collection of works on paper---totaling nearly 10,000. Part of my job is to ensure that the works of art to be included in a show like The Allure of Paper are stable enough to be placed on exhibit. Once I receive the list of works the curator would like to include in a show, I spring into action. I examine each object closely, looking for problems like flaking paint, weak or torn hinges, tears, or any other problem that would make the piece unsafe to display.

For The Allure of Paper a few works needed conservation treatment: Edward Hopper’s untitled charcoal drawing, John Henry Hill’s small watercolor sketch Nevada Falls, John Abbot’s Cardinal Grosbeak, and Arthur Davies' Certosa Monastery. Most had minor issues that needed to be addressed before they could safely hang in the galleries for four months.

Conservator looking through microscope in the lab.
Using magnification enables me to examine a work closely, as well as make very subtle repairs.

Edward Hopper’s charcoal drawing had several small edge tears and creases, making it vulnerable to further damage. Because the drawing was executed on poor quality paper (newsprint), over time the paper had darkened. Its condition required that light levels be kept low, and it remains covered during non-public hours.

Edward Hopper's charcoal on paper Untitled (Captain Gardner K. Wonson House)
Edward Hopper (1882--1967), Untitled (Captain Gardner K. Wonson House), ca. 1923--28, charcoal on paper, 2004.31

Documentation photographs are taken before and after conservation treatment. Above is the before treatment photograph.

After examining the object, I write up a treatment proposal that the curator and I agree upon. For this piece I repaired the tears with wheat starch paste and thin Japanese paper strips. The repairs secure the tears, stopping them from getting larger.

Condition report for Edward Hopper's charcoal on paper
Treatment proposal for Edward Hopper’s charcoal drawing

Once I’m finished with treatment I write up a report detailing what I’ve done and what materials I used. Each object in our collection has a dedicated file where documentation is kept detailing its history.

In addition, for every piece on the exhibition list I make note of its exhibition history. Works of art on paper are vulnerable to overexposure to light and environmental conditions. To protect the art we limit the lifetime exhibition of a work on paper, keeping it off view in our vaults for years between shows to slow down its inevitable deterioration. We also limit the light levels used in the exhibition. Some works are so vulnerable that for the duration of the show we cover them with custom-fitted drapes to protect them when we are closed to the public.

Conservator lifting cover over Georgia O'Keeffe watercolor.
Georgia O’Keeffe's Light Coming on the Plains No. III (1917) is covered by its custom-fitted drape during non-public hours.

Post written by Jodie Utter, conservator of works on paper

Making an Exhibition Picture Perfect

The museum’s Installation Preparation Services (IPS) team, which includes Greg Bahr (Lead Preparator), Steve Price (Preparator), and Les Hofheinz (Carpenter/Asst. Preparator) care for, handle, prepare, and install all of the artwork on display at the Amon Carter. They were essential in the execution of our current special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection, playing multiple roles throughout the planning and installation process. Jim Belknap (Installation Manager) determined the budgetary needs for all materials needed for the exhibition, including paint, mats, and frames, and organized the work schedule for all IPS activities.

Works on paper are vulnerable to physical damage; they can be torn, folded, and smudged. IPS ensured that each drawing and watercolor was securely hinged with Japanese paper or mounted using archival photo corners to a mat support before they were matted and framed for display. (Learn more about matting and framing works of art on paper here.)

Months before the exhibition, I met with IPS to select mats and frames for each artwork. Greg and Steve provided invaluable input regarding the appropriate mat colors and sizing for all of the art objects. They also sized and cut all of the mats for virtually every artwork on display, while Les built most of the frames you’ll see in the exhibition.

Steve Price frames a watercolor for the exhibition.
Steve Price frames a watercolor for the exhibition.

Les Hofheinz cleans the glass of a newly framed object.
Les Hofheinz cleans the glass of a newly framed object.

Greg Bahr installs a watercolor in the special exhibition gallery.
Greg Bahr installs a watercolor in the special exhibition gallery.

As curators, we often comment that we have one of the most talented and gifted IPS teams we have ever worked with. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, The Allure of Paper was executed beautifully.

The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection is now open! Drop by the museum anytime we're open to see these works firsthand.

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

Making Preparations for The Allure of Paper

It's less than two weeks until the opening of the special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection, and the museum is busy with preparations! In this installment of our blog series, discover some of what goes on behind-the-scenes as the exhibition moves through the design process.

Exhibition Designer Trang Nguyen plays a critical role in the presentation of every exhibition displayed at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Exhibition designer working at computer
Exhibition Designer Trang Nguyen hard at work in her office.

Trang’s initial step in planning for any exhibition is to establish an identity for the exhibition's design. As she describes, “I’m a translator because I take the exhibition content that the curator has created and translate it into a visual vocabulary in the galleries.”

In preparing for The Allure of Paper, Trang used the catalogue that accompanies this exhibition as a guideline. She then designed the exhibition's text panels and object labels and worked with me (the curator) to determine the wall colors for the exhibition. Because The Allure of Paper spans almost two hundred years of American art, Trang wanted colors reminiscent of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and chose paint colors from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Color Palette.

Museum staff preparing a gallery
Installation and Preparation Services staff members Les Hofheinz and Greg Bahr carefully prepare a gallery.

Reviewing the checklist for the exhibition---which is a list of all of the artworks to be included---Trang next provides a space assessment to determine how the works of art will fit within the special exhibition galleries. Trang laid out the works of art for this exhibition with me and determined that three walls needed to be added to the galleries.

Exhibition designer printing object labels
Trang printing out object labels for the galleries.

Trang is also responsible for producing all of the object labels, text panels, and any other visual text or images that accompany the exhibition. Trang’s work will undoubtedly ensure an optimal viewing experience for visitors who plan to attend The Allure of Paper exhibition, and we can't wait for you to see it!

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

Programs for All Ages

One of the fringe benefits of working in this museum is getting to participate in our public programs. Personal favorites are at opposite ends of the visitor spectrum.

The second Thursday of each month means it’s time for Sharing the Past, a program designed for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. The hour flies by with visitors sharing stories, insights, and memories elicited by the works of art. Songs have been sung, poetry has been recited, jokes have been told, so who knows what will happen next? If you are interested in more information on this program contact education@cartermuseum.org or call 817.989.5030.

Sharing the Past visitors from Bethesda Gardens at the Amon Carter.jpg

Bethesda Gardens residents attend the Sharing the Past program at the Amon Carter.

Summer is almost here so get ready for Storytime! This popular program returns with new books, new activities, and more cookies! Grab the kids and make the Amon Carter the place-to-be on Wednesday mornings in June and July.

Storytime at the Amon Carter.

Storytime at the Amon Carter.

Program Update: We had an age range of 100 years between Sharing the Past and Storytime attendees! There really is something for everyone at the Amon Carter.

Countdown to The Allure of Paper

The upcoming special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection was organized in celebration of our 50th anniversary. The museum has been acquiring drawings and watercolors since its inception. Yet these one-of-a-kind works of art have never been displayed together on such an extensive scale. Because all of these works are on paper---which fades every time it is exposed to light---many of them have not been exhibited for over ten years!

Jane Myers, the museum’s former Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, discusses seventy-three of these treasured artworks in the catalogue that will accompany the exhibition. Beginning July 9, closer to ninety artworks will be on view in the galleries allowing visitors a chance to see the depth and breadth of our collection.

These watercolors and drawings date from the late eighteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth century and include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, scenes of everyday life, and even avant-garde abstractions. Featured artists include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Ben Shahn, and Joseph Stella, among many others. With such a diversity of artists, subjects, and styles represented, there is literally something for everyone in this exhibition. Check out some of the featured artworks below and then keep checking the blog as we give you an inside look at this exhibition in posts through October.

John Rubens Smith, Portrait of Frances Isabella Moore (Mrs. John Heffernan), 1814, Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper

John Rubens Smith (1775--1849)
Portrait of Frances Isabella Moore (Mrs. John Heffernan), 1814
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper
2002.34

William Constable, The Great Falls of the Mohawk, ca. 1825-30, Watercolor over graphite on paper

William Constable (1783--1861)
The Great Falls of the Mohawk, ca. 1825--30
Watercolor over graphite on paper
Gift of Mr. J. A. Curran
1974.63

John La Farge, Still Life of Petunias in a Glass Vase, 1884, pastel on paper.

John La Farge (1835--1910)
Still Life of Petunias in a Glass Vase, 1884
Pastel on paper
Acquisition in memory of Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1968--1976
1988.20

Joseph Stella, Untitled, ca. 1914-1918, transparent and opaque watercolor and graphite on watercolor paper.

Joseph Stella (1877--1946)
Untitled, ca. 1914--18
Transparent and opaque watercolor and graphite on watercolor paper
2005.22

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

Museums - The Healthy Choice

A recent study by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reveals that visiting a museum can be good for your health.

Scientists agree that leisure activities, including cultural events, reduce stress. Cuypers' study focused on two different ways of participating in a cultural activity: the “creative” culture where the person actually participates in the activity; and the “receptive” culture where the person simply views the event. Creative culture includes singing in a choir or dancing or creating art. Receptive culture includes watching a ballet or seeing a play - or visiting a museum.

I was very surprised to learn that men thought they benefited more from receptive cultural activities than women did. Cuypers added that the more activities the respondent participated in, the better their perceived health. So the next time you ask the guy in your life to come to the Amon Carter and he rolls his eyes, just tell him it’s good for him.

Woody Allen — Metropolitan Museum of Art, gelatin silver print, 1963. ©Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin (1921-1985)
Woody Allen — Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963
Gelatin silver print
©Ruth Orkin

We Remember

We honor the memory of all those who died in service to our country.

Thomas W. Smillie (1843-1917), W. L. Snow [Profile in Navy uniform], albumen silver print, 1904.

Thomas W. Smillie (1843-1917)
W. L. Snow [Profile in Navy uniform], 1904
Albumen silver print
P1967.2119

Function + Inspiration

On this date in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was opened to traffic. German emigrant John Augustus Roebling conceived the design but did not live to see it even begin. He died from injuries sustained in an accident while overlooking the building site. His son, Washington Roebling, saw the project to completion but not without enduring his own physical problems directly due to working on this project.

Roebling used a series of wooden boxes called caissons to build his foundation for what would become the largest suspension bridge in the world. The boxes, built like an upside down barge, would be sealed watertight, floated, then pushed into position by tugs. At the proper place it would be sunk then the water pumped out while air was pumped in for the workers who were digging down to the bedrock. At the same time huge stone towers were being built on top of the caissons, helping them to sink down. Once the towers were in place the anchorages were built. These would hold up the cables and keep the roadbed from sagging. Each anchorage weighed 120,000,000 pounds. Much of the cable work was done by sailors since they had experience doing work while hanging from high masts.

This incredible structure is also the source of inspiration for many artists. No fewer than seventy works of art that directly include this structure are in our permanent collection. Oscar award winning cinematographer and photographer Karl Struss was particularly captivated by this bridge. We have thirty two photographs by this artist devoted to this historic landmark.

Karl Struss (1886-1981), Cables--New York Skyline through Brooklyn Bridge, ca. 1910-1912, Platinum print

Karl Struss (1886-1981)
Cables--New York Skyline through Brooklyn Bridge, ca. 1910-1912
Platinum print
P1980.3.13

FYI…John Roebling also designed a Texas landmark. The Waco suspension bridge opened in 1869 right next to the original site of the town.

Waco Suspension Bridge. 2 January 2007. Image by Georgi Petrov

Waco Suspension Bridge. 2 January 2007. Image by Georgi Petrov.

The Great Tree Ring Convenes

The Amon Carter recently joined with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas to work with area students on the Great Tree Essay Writing Contest, a project focusing on area trees. Area third-graders wrote stories about trees and submitted them and one of the prizes was to read their story during a live interactive videoconference in the special exhibition gallery here at the museum. Congratulations go out to Nina Williams from Tanglewood Elementary School and Karino Gibson from Daggett Montessori School for their winning insightful stories. All of the students in Karino and Nina’s classes were asked to study and prepare questions concerning works of art that featured trees, and several students shared their questions with 31 schools from across the nation during the broadcast.

Students from Tanglewood Elementary School and Daggett Montessori School in Fort Worth, Texas, participate in an interactive video broadcast from the special exhibition galleries.

Students from Tanglewood Elementary School and Daggett Montessori School in Fort Worth, Texas, participate in an interactive video broadcast from the special exhibition galleries.

A tip of the hat goes to our newest neighbor in the Cultural District! The Botanical Research Institute of Texas will soon open its doors to the public for the first time . The new facility is LEEDS certified and ready to be an important part of Fort Worth’s educational landscape.