The Arthur M. Sackler Museum’s renowned Asian art collections span millennia, cultures, and media. The objects range from Chinese archaic jade to painted handscrolls, from stone and gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures to East Asian portable paintings. Installing such diverse works in the Harvard Art Museums’ new facility involved special expertise and close collaboration between curators and collections management staff. And thanks to a generous matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), these efforts received an important lift.
“The installation of these galleries was far more challenging than one might expect,” said Melissa Moy, the Alan J. Dworsky Associate Curator of Chinese Art. “Objects from such a range of media required custom-made mounts, format-specific cases, and special lighting considerations for safety and optimal viewing.”
With help from the NEA grant, five Asian art galleries were installed: two displaying works from early China, two featuring Buddhist art, and one with later East Asian paintings, ceramics, and decorative arts. These galleries encourage close looking and critical thinking about the works on view—a hallmark of the Harvard Art Museums mission. The NEA grant also supported the production and installation of the galleries’ labels and graphics, helping inform visitors about the objects on view.
“The NEA’s support was crucial for our efforts to present the Arthur M. Sackler Museum’s diverse Asian art collections,” said Moy. “The study and enjoyment of these objects—by students, scholars, and the public—is now greatly enhanced.”