Where do you keep all your shoes?

November 14, 2014

Today Emma (exhibition assistant and I) have received a large delivery of shoes. But where do the museum keep all their shoes?

This question has already been answered by Will ‘s post here.

But what happens to the shoes once they have been selected by curators to become part of an exhibition?

Now that the opening of the exhibition; “Shoe pleasure and pain” is approaching, we are gathering the shoes that will be displayed in the show.  After years of assessing, photographing and measuring, the object list for the exhibition is almost finalized. We are now gathering shoes in view of a series of workshops


These two large boxes contains shoes that have been selected, assessed and conserved and they are now ready to sit next to their fellow companions in the drawers on the right. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London










Shoe Drawer © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


During these workshops, we will place objects from different sections of the exhibition next to another in order to understand how they work together as a group, both in the visual manner as well as coherently highlighting the narrative of the exhibition.

What looks good on paper is not always suitable in a 3D display.  When placing objects within a case or a plinth, many practical factors have to be taken into account, for example, how much space the objects will occupy, how many pairs of shoes will fit in the case? What is the most effective way to display a particular interesting pair, for example Mary Quant’s ankle boots; do we need extra support to make sure the shoes will be properly supported? How we will integrate readable and at the same time subtle labels?

There is an answer for all these questions and within our project team we have an expert for each of these specific areas. Our mounting specialist Nikki, will make sure that invisible mount, Perspex blocks and wire will properly support the shoes and will give the best view for the public to appreciate interesting details.

Jo, senior conservator, will make sure the shoes have been properly conserved, cleaned and they are fit to be displayed during a period of over 6 months. Our 3D and 2D designers Line and Jo will build an evocative set to display the shoes at their best; highlighting the thematic of the exhibitions and integrate text within the space.  In the next posts, we will explore what happen when gathering all these people in a room full of shoes.


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