Smithsonian Institution / NMAI George Gustav Heye Center Infinity of Nations (Opening: October 23)

March 2010

They’ll be setting sail in Spring and, crate by crate, will be shipped up the River Hudson from Staten Island to Manhattan. The glass cases produced in Italy for the National Museum of the American Indian will be filing past the Statue of Liberty in May. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution, an institute for education and research that is administered and financed by the government of the United States of America, and boasts a total collection of 142 million works of art.

The staff at the Goppion Laboratorio Museotecnico will assemble the 21 cases inside the George Gustav Heye Centre, in a Neo-Classical style building on Battery Park. The glass cases, created by Goppion from a design by the architect Celia Imrey in collaboration with Gerard Breen from the NMAI, are highly engineered pieces of machinery. They introduce structural novelties that have made the upper part of the case thinner than before. In the front part, the supporting elements in glass have been replaced by crystal sheets that, alternating with the opening parts, allow the object to be viewed without any visual interruption. The case doors, 3.60 metres high, open easily on account of an articulated four-sided hinge and possess a good hold when they are closed thanks to the use of special magnetic insertions.

The cases, 9 metres wide, will be housing objects from the permanent exhibition, “Infinity of Nations”, dedicated to the art and the history of the Native Americans. Since the initial stages when the contract was won, the design project has been followed by the Project Manager, Martin Suttrop along with Goppion’s United States Director of Operations, Ted Paschkis.

Smithsonian Institution / NMAI George Gustav Heye Center Infinity of Nations (Opening: October 23)