Monday, October 20, 2014

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #16

     These two "Then and Now" compositions appertain to changes, both substantial and modest, to the third floor of the Worcester Art Museum.

     -The first photo, from 1920, shows an elegant interior vista capped by a petite arch and colonnade. Looking from the third floor landing across the main staircase towards a small balcony room and the Lower Third Floor gallery below, it is a view that no longer exists. About 70+ years ago, a hurricane came through the area, causing severe damage to the roof and original glass skylights of the Worcester Art Museum. The administration at the time weighed two choices: 1) Repair the roof, or 2) Take the opportunity to construct a fourth floor on top of the existing galleries. They chose the latter option, lowering the ceiling of the third floor and removing most of the grand original architectural features. The same viewpoint cannot be revisited today beyond in a general sense, but I positioned the camera in such a way as to include part of the cases flanking the entrance to the Lower Third Floor Galleries, which are the only elements that remain from the 1920 shot.
     -The 1984 photo in the second composition shows the Lower Third Galleries after an opportune renovation. When the Hiatt Wing was being constructed the previous year, it was deemed convenient to combine that effort with adding the Atrium area on the fourth floor and upgrading the pictured gallery. The overall look in that space has never ventured too far from it's original 1920 appearance.

     -The sketch depicts the brooding Florentine terracotta "Old Man Contemplating" (circa. 1500), on display in the Medieval Gallery.

     -The Knights! Construction sequence (part 2 of 5) was taken from a point of view behind the Triumphal Arch, in what became the Children's activity area. Like the photo-sequence in the previous post, it was composed over the course of nearly 4 months (15 weeks) from December to March, while the new space for the former Higgins Armory Museum collection was being built.

Third Floor Stairs. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

American Galleries. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Old Man Contemplating. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Knights! Construction. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins