Olivier Models

ADOPTED! through the Adopt an Artwork Program

We are now looking for funding for additional museum quality exhibition cases which would allow the models to be displayed on a regular basis in Schaffer Library, as well as in Bailey Hall at the completion of the Science and Engineering complex renovation.

Following a survey by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) of the entire collection of Olivier Models owned by the College, we received generous funding from the President’s office to have some of the models conserved. In addition, a grant from the Greater Hudson Heritage Network in 2017 (as part of the Conservation Treatment Grant Program, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts), helped cover the cost of four models currently being treated. Additional funding for this ambitious project has been provided by the following alumni:

  • David Mixer (Class of 1974), Board of Trustees, gave significant funding to the project
  • William Perlstein (Class of 1971), Board of Trustees, gave significant funding to the project
  • David Strom (Class of 1976), one of Prof Stone’s students who cleaned the Olivier Models from the late 1960s through the 1970s
  • Tony Versaci (Class of 1991), President’s Council

The conservation work has been meticulously done by Christine Puza, Associate Conservator of Furniture and Wooden Objects at WACC. The treatment ranged from $1,500 to $2,500 per model, and involved cleaning and waxing the wooden cases; stabilizing cracks and filling losses; removing and reapplying coating on metal components before re-polishing them; some models required restringing of the threads; the models were then fitted with a Styrofoam-like material “collar” which separates the threads holding the hanging weights, and prevents them from becoming entangled upon moving.

Read more about this singular collection here.

Before and after conservation: Théodore Olivier, Intersection of Two Cylinders of Unequal Radius (purple and white), ca. 1830-1845, fruitwood, brass, thread, lead weights, Union College Permanent Collection, 1868.11 UCPC