On Saturday, February 10, MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies students were able to break that ultimate law of museums–DO NOT TOUCH. After a tour with curators Béatrice Quette and Sophie Motsch to see how ceramics are currently displayed in the museum, the students were led down into the reserves, where objects await installation or transfer to a storage facility. There, they were treated to an hour-long session where they got to handle ceramics from different times, places, and production methods.
How can you tell the difference between hard- and soft-paste porcelain? What changes between European stoneware and Korean stoneware? While observation can reveal much about objects, nothing can replicate a direct, tactile experience. Weight, texture, balance, density, opacity, scale–all of these elements are revealed only when witnessed in person.
The best way to understand something is to have it in front of you, ideally, in your hands.