This month, we're highlighting another new exhibition experience coming to Slater Museum! This exhibition is the largest we will feature and has been displayed continuously since the museum's opening 135 years ago. Every organization has a beginning, and for Slater Museum, our beginning started with the installation of our renowned plaster cast collection. These casts were originally made in casting studios all throughout Europe and shipped in individual pieces that were then assembled on-site by master plaster artist Giovanni Lugini.
Whereas many plaster cast collections at other museums have largely been diminished or totally done away with, Slater Museum stands out among the rest as one of a few regional museums to actively display, collect, and interpret plaster casts as a core part of its exhibition goals. The collection has certainly changed and evolved over 135 years and despite their monumental size, many of them have been relocated to different spots in the museum. In anticipation of our grand reopening in early 2023, the collection will feature a new brand name, layout, paint colors, and interpretive elements.
First is the name: Casts of the Ancient World. Before the gallery was commonly referred to as the "Cast Gallery" but we're taking things a step further by giving this exhibition a formal name and identity that pays homage to its roots, but also sets us up to grow engagement with the collection in new ways. We will be drawing new attention to the art history of these individual pieces with new labels, and we've completed a new layout of the gallery that will allow all visitors to more safely navigate the halls when viewing the casts. Casts of the Ancient World will be split into three interpretive themes: Greek and Roman, African and Middle Eastern, and Renaissance. The Greek and Roman pieces will remain on the same main floor of the museum and the African and Middle Eastern components will be reunited in the Gallery of African Art adjacent to the main cast gallery. These pieces were previously far removed from the rest of the collection and we hope this allows visitors to better experience these pieces, as well as new additions; the Renaissance component will still remain on the second floor.
New interpretive elements will also be on their way! We give big thanks to Conservation ConneCTion and the Connecticut League of History Organizations for awarding Slater Memorial Museum a 2022 Museum Makeover Grant to assist with this project! This project provided up to $3,000 that resulted in the creation of six larger panels that will accompany six notable casts in the collection that expand the historical interpretation of the pieces as they connect to the twenty-first century. The museum worked with a small team of traveling curators to research and implement this project which we are thrilled to debut.
Moving forward, Casts of the Ancient World will remain the cornerstone of our museum and we hope to "cast" new light on this timeless collection through new and different ways!