Protecting Art and Increasing Awareness of Transportation Risks

Art Preservation, Technology
Museums
2017

Team:

Daniela Cerkanowicz, Jacob Henry, Jake Kaplan, Martin Walwik

Liaisons:

Ben Finberg, Cody Hartley, Dale Kronkright

Sponsors:

GOKM Innovation

Project website:

Preserving historic art provides society with a greater connection to its cultural history. Unfortunately, insufficient protection from vibration for canvas paintings in transit threatens to rob us of this benefit. This project was sponsored by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (GOKM) who provided tools and suggestions for researching this ongoing problem. We designed and implemented an affordable method of using simple sensors to analyze the effectiveness of packaging materials at eliminating vibration. We used this analytic method to evaluate a variety of alternative materials to the conventional foams used in canvas shipping containers. Finally, we worked with the GOKM to create a draft exhibit design to raise public awareness of the museum’s work to stop vibration damage.
Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Not only was she one the first painters to adopt the style we now know as American Modernism, but she was the first woman to ever rise to such notoriety within that art genre. Now, she is respected as a pioneer not only of art, but of women’s rights as well.
Unfortunately, her artwork is at risk. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (GOKM) has noted that after over 3 decades of continuous touring of her artwork, it has begun to show signs of damage in spite of heavy precautions and safety procedures. In order to find the source of this mysterious damage, they created the Georgia O’Keeffe Innovation (GOKI) group to investigate why these priceless paintings are being damages, and what can be done to save them.
As a team, we were tasked with assisting GOKI in this endeavor. Our goal was to analyze the current dangers of transportation that GOKI is facing, and provide new strategies for mitigating these dangers in a sustainable manner.