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From Bubble Wrap to Birthday Cake

By Michele Devitt, Curatorial Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator

We had 12 volunteers in the workshop on this very, very busy day!  

Several of the ladies unwrapped over 300 nativity pieces, gently protected with tissue, batting and bubble wrap. The pieces were checked over, cleaned and rewrapped for storage. When it was discovered that a hand was broken off of a very small baby Jesus figure, it was immediately sent to the repair desk, along with a repair tag describing its condition, noting the repair needed, and signed and dated by the volunteer. 

In another area of the workshop, cloth covers were put on the plexiglass museum cases to make them ready for storage. The extra covers were neatly folded and placed in one of two designated drawers by size. Fabric to make new covers was sorted and organized.

Two volunteers walked up and down every aisle recording the inventory numbers of each Nativity and in which of our 18 rows it is now located in. Multiple inventory and location changes were made in the database. Searching photos to verify sets was often necessary. All loan and exhibition work must be documented.

A group of men inspected wood bases and designed a hexagon three-quarter inch base for our spinning German windmill. Metal glides that go on the bottom of all wood bases were replaced where missing. A silver and gold frame was repaired then touched up with paint, along with the repair of three other Nativity pieces and two statues of Mary. Nine different types of material were involved in these repairs.

Still another volunteer searched the shelves and database for artwork pertaining to scripture and Lent to pull together a collection that will be lent to a Toledo art gallery.

Sorting and putting away bubble wrap, tissue and assorted packing materials took a few hours. As did stacking totes and snuggling them between cases — finding good storage spaces is a continuous challenge! Pulling boxes off shelves, placing them on a rolling cart then wheeling them to the packing station so the Nativities to be put away for the off-season continued for the entire day. Not to mention that we also:

  • wrote an article to be published in the Crèche Herald magazine
  • made preparations to hang the next art exhibit in the Marian Library gallery
  • disassembled at 12-foot Nativity mobile
  • and, celebrated two birthdays with cheesecake, brownies and a white chocolate candy Nativity!

It was indeed a very, very busy day!

Even through all of the hustle and bustle, the conversation, laughter and camaraderie keeps the volunteers coming back week after week. All of the necessary work to maintain the art and Nativity collections in the Marian Library could not be done without the generous and hard work of our wonderful volunteers!

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