Guidelines for Classes Visiting the Print Study Room
The approximately 16,000 prints, drawings and photographs in the Spencer Museum of Art offer one of the richest resources for classes visiting the Museum. We are committed to making the collection as accessible as possible, and indeed we are grateful to all who take the time to learn something about works of art on paper. However, as the word continues to spread about our holdings, demands on the collection and our staff have increased a great deal. This large increase in demand has also raised concerns about the proper care of the collection. We respectfully ask that visiting classes take the time to review the following guidelines before making a visit to the print study room.
Orientation and Guidelines for Students
The works you will see in the print study room are original works of art, not reproductions. For example, if we show you a Rembrandt etching, you will be looking at a piece of paper that is about 350 years old and may well have been handled by Rembrandt himself.
Because works of art on paper are very susceptible to damage from long exposure to light, we must keep them in secure light-tight boxes in a special storage area in the museum. It is our job to take the works of art out of their storage area and put them on display in the print study room where you will see them. In effect, we are putting together a custom exhibition for your class.
The print study room offers an intimate environment in which to study art. We want this to be a special and meaningful experience for everyone, but we must also be certain that the artworks never get damaged. Since most of the prints, drawings, and photographs you see will not be in frames, but in mats with no glass covering them, they can easily be damaged. To make sure the works of art do not get damaged we ask you to follow the same rules that we do:
- Pencils only — no pens or ink are allowed in the study room. Please do not put newspapers on the print study tables (the ink on the newspapers easily transfers to other surfaces).
- No food, gum, drink, or any liquid is allowed in the print study room.
- Do not touch the works of art (of course we do handle them, but only after detailed training) — but please do look very closely (magnifying glasses are available in the study room).
- Leave bulky items (jackets, backpacks, etc.) outside of the print study room.
- If you have to sneeze, please face away from the artworks.
- Please be especially careful if you take a seat near a wall where artwork is displayed.
Orientation and Guidelines for Instructors
Please contact the printroom staff: Kate Meyer to discuss what items you would like to have available for your class.
We now require that there be no more than 15 visitors in the study room at one time. The space is simply too small to accommodate a larger group without significantly increasing the possibility of damaging a work of art. If your group is larger than 15 we suggest splitting your class into smaller groups. While one group is in the study room, the other(s) can work with objects on display in the galleries. We have found that smaller groups have a much richer experience in the study room.
We suggest scheduling early in the semester because the use of the print room is increasing and we want to be sure your class fits into the schedule.
While we will oversee your visit, we assume that you will be doing the talking. If you wish one of us to talk about the works on display, please give us advanced warning.
Once the works of art have been put away after your class visit it is usually a hardship for us to get them back out again for students who missed class or who simply want to follow up on an assignment. This is especially difficult in large, multi-section classes. Please be sure that the students know that the print study room visit is a specially orchestrated event that may not be easily re-enacted.