Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Happy trails to 100 iconic guitars | How we packed them, where they're going

by Christa Barleben, Eiteljorg registrar | Aug 20, 2013
The Eiteljorg enjoyed having over 100 historic guitars here at the museum for our Guitars! Roundups to Rockers exhibition this spring and summer -- and we were sad to see them go. As the registrar at the museum, it was my job to help pack the instruments up and organize their safe journey back to their owners and lending institutions.
christa packs up buddy holly's guitar
Christa Barleben, and Brandi Naish, collections intern, packing up Buddy Holly’s leather tooled Gibson J-45 guitar, on loan from Mike Malone.

So how does a guitar travel?
When the museum ships objects we use fine art shippers that are trained in art handling and moving to make sure that the guitars get a very comfortable and safe ride. Also, all of the guitars were packed in some type of hard guitar case, hard flight case, or wooden crate which protects the guitar during travel.

Empty guitar cases and boxes waiting to be packed by museum staff. It took staff 4 days to pack all the guitars, averaging about 25 guitars a day.
amy mckune with george harrison's guitar
Amy McKune, Director of Collections, packing up George Harrison’s Gibson SG Electric guitar, ca. 1962, on loan from Jim Irsay.

Where did they go?
The guitars left the museum on three different trucks, traveling a total of 6,921 miles to 15 cities in 8 states to be returned to 26 private and museum lenders.  

Amy McKune and Christa Barleben packing up a guitar on loan from the EMP Museum. The EMP was one of 4 museum lenders to the exhibit.  

Museum Exhibition, Collections, and Facilities staff breaking down exhibit components. In total, it took staff a little over a week to deinstall the entire exhibit.

Guitars! Roundups to Rockers was the museum’s best-attended show in its 24-year history. The exhibit, which featured more than 100 instruments – many played by American icons,  attracted more than 63,000 people from Mar. 9 through Aug. 4.

The Eiteljorg’s next spring/summer exhibit, featuring the work of famed photographer, Ansel Adams, will open Mar. 1, 2014, in celebration of the museum’s 25th anniversary. The show will feature nearly 100 classic images, including 75 photographs Adams chose and printed as the best representations of the range and quality of his life’s work.



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