Guardians of the Gallery

The Gibbes Museum of Art will present the project “Guardians of the Gallery: Interpreting Visible Storage.” Designed to increase understanding about how staff protect and preserve the Museum’s collection of almost 10,000 works of art, the program will include permanent interpretive material, rotating exhibitions and public tours of the Collections Storage Center that will highlight operations involved with maintaining artwork and explain what visitors see as they peer through the glass walls. The first programming will start in March 2018. SC Humanities supported this program with a Mini Grant.

The first exhibit that will be part of the “Guardians of the Gallery” programming will be The Secret Life of a Painting, which will explorethe often-hidden history behind paintings, including damage, repair, and scars not visible to the naked eye. A shadow box designed and constructed by museum staff will allow visitors to view a conserved painting under a black light, which will reveal areas of repair that could not otherwise be seen. Accompanying text panels will explain various conservation techniques.

Other topics considered for future exhibits include “Why can’t we touch the art?” and “tools of the trade.”

Monthly behind-the=scenes tours of the Collection Storage Center will enrich understanding by allowing the public to see art storage and maintenance up-close and meet staff members who are the true “guardians of the gallery.”

The Gibbes Museum of Art is home to the foremost collection of American art that incorporates the story of Charleston. The Museum connects the city and region’s artistic past to a vibrant contemporary art scene. More information can be found at the website:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.