September 26, 2011

Moving Giants

Sometimes at the Burke Museum, we move giant things. From whale skeletons to dinosaur bones, our collections vary and all require some expert moving skills. So how do you move an art piece that is really tall—as in over 15 feet tall? And not only one piece, but two?

The Burke’s exhibit team was given this unique challenge with two giant parade dolls for our newest exhibit ¡Carnaval! They mirror the style of the giant dolls (or boneco gigante in Portuguese) from the Olinda, Brazil Carnival and were made by local artists as part of a collaboration between the Burke Museum and the Brazil Center.

So how do you move them? The team put the “Midnight Man” and the “Woman of the Day” dolls on a wheeled platform to maneuver them. Dipping is an important skill to learn, not just for dancing, but for getting the dolls through a door frame that’s a few feet too short.

Once through the doorways, the dolls take a quick trip in the Burke’s famous elevator up to the special exhibits gallery that will be their home for the next few months.

The dolls are then taken off of the wheeled platforms and lifted to their mounts. A scissor lift helped steady the “Woman of the Day” doll, which had the higher mount.

Clamps are put in place to temporarily stabilize the dolls, which are then drilled securely into place. And voila! The dolls are ready for their costumes and final touch ups.

You can see these amazing giant dolls yourself in the Burke’s newest exhibit ¡Carnaval! On October 1, come celebrate with the dolls during our ¡Carnaval! Opening Celebration!
Posted By: Andrea Barber, Communications