Installing ‘Imagining the Divine’ #9: 13th October

Jaś Elsner and Stefanie Lenk are blogging from behind the scenes during the installation of the Ashmolean Museum’s exhibition Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, opening on October 19th.

Stefanie Lenk, 13/10/17, installation day 10

We hope everyone who has followed us through the installation process of Imagining the Divine now has a better idea of what it is like to get over 150 objects to tell the stories you want them to tell! By now, almost everything is ready except a few pieces to sort out on Monday. Then, opening week. We will be busy! Tours for Ashmolean staff, exhibition guides, the press, friends and family, and from Thursday, the public. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to see you here, too!

Now, there’s one part of the installation we’ve not blogged about yet… What was the first construction site we saw daily when coming in? No, not another Buddha. The shop!


Exhibitions should be fun and engaging. And they should enable museums to make the money they need, for instance, to help keep permanent galleries free of charge. It’s exciting to see an exhibition shop come to life. On day 1, the site didn’t look particularly appealing.


But now there are wondrous things! Katherine, after a briefing on what the show is about, sat down and made a long list of things marketable, but also (a bit) relevant. Such as orange flavour milk chocolate to go with the orange theme of the poster, and multi-coloured stationary because the exhibition uses different colours as signposts in its design.


This is my favourite: foot-shaped calculators to go with the footprints of the Buddha!

Months ago, we were asked for ideas for relevant books and postcard designs. Our colleague Dominic won the prize of selecting and now I’m a bit jealous. But at least it is me who was the first to spot the exclusive Imagining the Divine bag! Already sorted for Christmas. Great!


With retail manager Katherine Merrony

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