Last week we made good progress on displaying the Harpy Tomb panels in the linking corridor in between the Museum’s Numismatic Gallery and the third of the Ancient Worlds galleries on the second floor. It has always been a difficult area to use for display because it is quite a narrow space and it is often very busy with people walking through to see the Vivarium on the other side of the Museum. We planned to install some of our collection of plaster casts of ancient Greek sculpture that used to be in storage in time for the opening of the Ancient Worlds galleries just over a year ago but ran out of time. Members of the conservation and collections team had cleaned and repaired them. Since then we’ve explored a number of different options in the space before deciding to install the plaster casts ourselves.
Our technical team created a framework to support the plaster casts and installed sheets of acrylic to protect them. Unfortunately we don’t have casts of all the panels so we will fill in the gaps using panels printed with a line drawing of the design. This will provide a better understanding of the sculpture, although it is rather different from the original configuration at the top of a square sided tower. We are laying out the panels in a straight run to fit the format of the linking corridor.
As part of the interpretation we will install some vinyl lettering with a quotation from an ancient text that mentions the Harpies. In the image above the text printed onto paper has been placed in position to check that the font size fits the space. Even though this was only a test it was interesting to see that visitors were very interested and reading the text in the display. A small block of text and a photo of the site of the Harpy Tomb in Turkey will also be installed to inform visitors. The original panels are displayed at the British Museum.
My thanks to Shaun and Louise from the Visitors Services team and the anonymous couple (above) who very sportingly allowed their photograph to be taken looking at the casts