The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Not Your Average Moving Day
Moving. Everyone has had to pack up all of their things and move to a new location at some point in their life. Sometimes we move for a job, or school, or love, but no matter what the reason, it still takes a lot of work to make sure things are packed carefully to prevent damage during the process, and coordinating for the items to be moved can be a pain as well. But what about when museum objects or specimens need to be moved? Especially for large objects, the process is a lot more complicated than ensuring the object is surrounded by a sufficient layer of bubble wrap and packing peanuts.
Take the statue of George Washington that was sculpted by Horatio Greenough for example. The statue had previously been housed at the U.S. Capitol building until 1908 when it was transferred to the Smithsonian. On September 6, 1962, the statue was moved again, this time from the West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, to the Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History. While the distance between the two buildings is less than a half mile, it took a lot of work. In order to remove the statue from the Castle, it had to be raised of the floor and placed on bricks, and the glass and several stones from one of the windows in the West Wing were removed in preparation. Even then, the statue barely fit through the opening. Once out of the building, the George Washington statue was lifted onto a truck by a crane for transportation to the Museum of History and Technology where it still remains on display. The statue arrived in one piece, making the move a success!
Click through the slideshow for photos of objects being relocated.