Worcester Art Museum: Sketches by Travis Simpkins

Sketches of works in the collection of the Worcester art museum - worcester, massachusetts

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In the first photo, from about 1900, the original building of the Worcester Art Museum is shown just a few years after the cornerstone was set in 1897. Designed by Worcester architect Steven Earle, this facade greeted visitors up until the early 1930’s when the Renaissance Court building was constructed directly in front of this edifice. Several years after that the glass roof was damaged in a 1938 hurricane, and was removed to facilitate the addition of the fourth floor. Today, only the northwest and southeast corners of the original building are visible (look for the large arch with a big photo of “Sally” on Lancaster Street, and by the loading dock area on Tuckerman Street), with the rest having been obscured by various additions in 1920, 1933, 1940, 1970 and 1983.Then and Now: “Original 1897 Building- Worcester Art Museum, 1900 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

In the first photo, from about 1900, the original building of the Worcester Art Museum is shown just a few years after the cornerstone was set in 1897. Designed by Worcester architect Steven Earle, this facade greeted visitors up until the early 1930’s when the Renaissance Court building was constructed directly in front of this edifice. Several years after that the glass roof was damaged in a 1938 hurricane, and was removed to facilitate the addition of the fourth floor. Today, only the northwest and southeast corners of the original building are visible (look for the large arch with a big photo of “Sally” on Lancaster Street, and by the loading dock area on Tuckerman Street), with the rest having been obscured by various additions in 1920, 1933, 1940, 1970 and 1983.

Then and Now: “Original 1897 Building- Worcester Art Museum, 1900 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum Travis Simpkins then and now history photography Architecture past and present Before and After construction conservation 1900 1897 2014 worcesterhistory worcestermassachusetts Worcester steven earle architect art museum museum artists on tumblr art history

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These cables, motor and pulleys (only one is shown here, but there are two) were part of the system designed to raise and lower the “Last Judgment” tapestry at the Worcester Art Museum from the 1930’s until the 1990’s. For certain events and performances, the grand tapestry was lowered to cover the three arched openings to the Salisbury Lobby, and serve as a stage backdrop. The mechanism was well measured and balanced, and the system was easy to operate. There were only three controls: Raise, Lower and Stop. -Travis Simpkins
These cables, motor and pulleys (only one is shown here, but there are two) were part of the system designed to raise and lower the “Last Judgment” tapestry at the Worcester Art Museum from the 1930’s until the 1990’s. For certain events and performances, the grand tapestry was lowered to cover the three arched openings to the Salisbury Lobby, and serve as a stage backdrop. The mechanism was well measured and balanced, and the system was easy to operate. There were only three controls: Raise, Lower and Stop. -Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum Travis Simpkins last judgment tapestry motor pulley mechanical device hoist worcesterhistory Worcester art museum procedure 1930s flemish

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Evidence of the projection room from the old Worcester Art Museum Auditorium can still be seen, both outside on Lancaster Street as well as inside the Contemporary Gallery. The booth, plunked on the facade of the original 1897 building, now contains ductwork and various building systems equipment. In the Contemporary Gallery, the door and window to the projection room can still be seen as outlines on the wall. -Travis Simpkins
Evidence of the projection room from the old Worcester Art Museum Auditorium can still be seen, both outside on Lancaster Street as well as inside the Contemporary Gallery. The booth, plunked on the facade of the original 1897 building, now contains ductwork and various building systems equipment. In the Contemporary Gallery, the door and window to the projection room can still be seen as outlines on the wall. -Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum Travis Simpkins then and now projection room movie theatre auditorium worcesterhistory Renovation Worcester art museum public space Conference Room

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Recently, WAM Conservator Phil Klausmeyer and I have been trading stories about the past uses and appearances of the Worcester Art Museum’s 4th floor. One such incarnation involved a commissioned mural, representing a mosaic of the “Virgin and Child flanked by Justinian I and Constantine I” from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople). Here is a comparison (with the real deal on the right), giving some vague indication of likeness, which was supposed to have been a very faithful representation. - Travis Simpkins

Recently, WAM Conservator Phil Klausmeyer and I have been trading stories about the past uses and appearances of the Worcester Art Museum’s 4th floor. One such incarnation involved a commissioned mural, representing a mosaic of the “Virgin and Child flanked by Justinian I and Constantine I” from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople). Here is a comparison (with the real deal on the right), giving some vague indication of likeness, which was supposed to have been a very faithful representation. - Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum hagia sophia phil klausmeyer conservation mosaic art history Travis Simpkins byzantine byzantium constantine justinian virgin and child Catholocism Christianity medieval church constantinople istanbul worcesterhistory Worcester art museum then and now

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This “Then and Now” composition shows the third floor landing and Jeppson Gallery, both pre and post Idea Lab. In the 2010 photo, Thomas Crawford’s “Boy Playing Marbles” can be seen at center. The sculpture was not in this vulnerable position very long before being relocated back to the American Galleries below. Also, through the door in the same photo, Winslow Homer’s “The Gale” can be seen hanging as the centerpiece of the Jeppson Gallery. A long-popular painting amongst visitors, hopefully the Homer will be amongst those pieces to be installed in the renovated Rose Gallery next month.Then and Now: “Freeman Hall (3rd Floor)- Worcester Art Museum, 2010 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

This “Then and Now” composition shows the third floor landing and Jeppson Gallery, both pre and post Idea Lab. In the 2010 photo, Thomas Crawford’s “Boy Playing Marbles” can be seen at center. The sculpture was not in this vulnerable position very long before being relocated back to the American Galleries below. Also, through the door in the same photo, Winslow Homer’s “The Gale” can be seen hanging as the centerpiece of the Jeppson Gallery. A long-popular painting amongst visitors, hopefully the Homer will be amongst those pieces to be installed in the renovated Rose Gallery next month.

Then and Now: “Freeman Hall (3rd Floor)- Worcester Art Museum, 2010 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

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In the first photo, from about 1960, it is apparent that the large recessed arch between the third and fourth floors was designed with a specific intent… that being to display a mural replica of one of the famous Byzantine “Hagia Sophia” mosaics. On the sides of the staircase are two elevators: a small passenger elevator on the left, and a large freight elevator on the right. Wide doorways allow for a open flow of exhibition space from east to west across the landing. Today, the “Hagia Sophia” mural is still there, but is walled-up behind the blank archway. The old passenger elevator was retired (with utility closets on each level now), and the old freight elevator was renovated to suit dual purposes. Then and Now: “Fourth Floor Galleries- Worcester Art Museum, 1960 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

In the first photo, from about 1960, it is apparent that the large recessed arch between the third and fourth floors was designed with a specific intent… that being to display a mural replica of one of the famous Byzantine “Hagia Sophia” mosaics. On the sides of the staircase are two elevators: a small passenger elevator on the left, and a large freight elevator on the right. Wide doorways allow for a open flow of exhibition space from east to west across the landing. Today, the “Hagia Sophia” mural is still there, but is walled-up behind the blank archway. The old passenger elevator was retired (with utility closets on each level now), and the old freight elevator was renovated to suit dual purposes. 

Then and Now: “Fourth Floor Galleries- Worcester Art Museum, 1960 and 2014”. by Travis Simpkins

Filed under Worcester Art Museum then and now Travis Simpkins hagia sophia worcesterhistory worcestermassachusetts atrium Before and After past and present 1960 2014 Architecture exhibit planning exhibition design interior design Renovation art history art museum museum collections gallery installation artists on tumblr photography history