TAM’s display of studio art jewelry in the reconstructed Kreielsheimer Foundation Alcove took many years of planning and fabrication before its official opening in 2021. Designed by Olson Kundig during the construction of the Benaroya wing, the case itself went through several iterations and tweaks. Ben Wildenhaus, our Head Preparator and Exhibition Designer, oversaw this process through many fits and starts to balance aesthetic appeal with the conservation requirements of various jewelry materials. The results of these efforts gave us a premiere space to showcase TAM’s incredible jewelry collection.
Ellen Ito, our Curator of Special Projects and Collections Manager, was responsible for the fantastic design of what you see inside the case. Using clear acrylic mounts, Ellen envisioned a display where the jewelry felt like it was floating in the air. She created a design that allowed us to exhibit a large portion of our collection while still not seeming overcrowded.
I was in charge of fabricating those acrylic mounts. One benefit of museum life during a global pandemic was extra time to work on this complicated process. Acrylic mount making involves various cutting, bending, cementing, and polishing techniques. Ultimately, each piece of jewelry required a custom mounting solution.