As I approached LACMA's workshop to take a few photos for the latest in our series of behind-the-scenes posts, David Bowie's baritone and the distinct scent of cedar wafted toward me. Inside, Simon, Chuck, and Charlie were at work on the pedestals and vitrines for the upcoming Pompeii and the Roman Villa.
They play music loud—I also heard Dave Matthews and Janet Jackson during my visit—so they can hear it over the saws and hammers. Not only does the construction team build the cases the objects reside in, but they also make furniture for the galleries and even frames. (As Simon told me, "We built Pompeii.")
They custom-blend all the paint colors by eye versus machine in-house as well. It's perhaps the least museum-y space in the museum. Whereas the galleries are pristine and hushed, the workshop, as is evidenced by the paint-spattered mirror below, feels much less ordered. And if you ask me, it smells and sounds better too.