Summer at The Wellin:
Or What We Do During Your Summer Vacation
Chris Harrison, Building Manager and Preparator
Summer at The Wellin

Hamilton College empties out following Commencement in late May. Graduation time comes and the Students are seen packing up their dorm room as the parent’s suburbans are stuffed to the max, ready to head off for some well-earned vacation followed up by the summer internship or camp counselor gig.

Almost as quickly, the faculty split for parts elsewhere and the campus is transformed from a bustling center of liberal arts education into a quiet oasis of meticulously manicured lawns, empty dorm rooms, and silent lecture halls. You can almost hear the full-time staff utter a sigh of relief. Suddenly it’s easy to find parking! Just as quickly, the weather gets awesome again. And with June and July, as the beaches and campgrounds are filling up, The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum closes its doors to public visitors. From all appearances, it could be assumed that the Wellin Staff were heading to the beach or the summer cabin for some R&R too. But appearances are deceiving.

Behind the closed doors, the Wellin Curatorial and Exhibition teams are just gearing up for the three-month run to the finish line. This is our only chance in the calendar year to take on the really messy, noisy jobs. Summer time at the Wellin is filled with all the tasks that had to wait till classes ended. Major renovations and maintenance of our heating and cooling systems are underway as I write. Alex, our head of Museum Security, has just overseen the installation of an additional six new security cameras and a new set of security door lock systems as part of ongoing security upgrades. In our 5000 square foot Exhibition Gallery our Art Handling and Exhibition Carpentry Crews are in full swing assembling the gallery walls and applying fresh coats of paint in preparation for the Fall Exhibition. This new exhibition will open on Saturday, September 8th and promises to be a feast for the eyes.

The exhibit titled, Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day, features seven large, beaded, and highly ornate garments that are to be suspended from the gallery ceiling and a 400 square foot projection room at one end of the gallery for patrons to view a short film commissioned by the Wellin. Whenever projectors and audio are involved or hanging the artwork from our 18 foot high gallery ceiling, the challenges are increased and time must be given to sort out these technical details. Gibson has works that represent a vast spectrum of materials and expressive styles. The show will include oils on canvas, textiles, beaded panels, pastel drawings, ceramics and sculpture. Five of the sculptures have never been seen by the public before and are highly ornate helmets that will dazzle our visitors this September.

So enjoy the rest of your summer while we stay busy preparing for another season of innovative programming and awesome exhibitions at the Wellin Museum. Hope to see you in the Fall!

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