The residence has been kept as it was at the time of Ray’s death in 1988. It is filled with the stuff of their lives, telling the stories of their lives, interests and loves… all with different needs for conservation.
Books, fabrics, folk art, prisms—shells, rocks and straw baskets….groupings unified by each element’s careful selection and the overall curation. And while these objects have for the most part, nominal value as individual pieces, they have a huge value as part of the carefully placed collections, helping visitors to better understand the Eameses’ approaches to life and work via that direct experience that the Eameses felt was so important.
In 2011, the Foundation tasked experts with examining the overall nature and condition of the collections. It was clear that many of the objects are aging, so a plan would need to be developed to extend their life. General object categories and concerns were identified for future explorations.
The concerns were further complicated by the Foundation’s goal to continue showing the Eames House as though Charles and Ray were still living there: with curtains and doors open, living plants and fresh bouquets. Several experts opined that we should hermetically seal the residence to reduce agents of deterioration, as done by most museums.
Beginning in 2012, the GCI collected data on the residence’s interior environment, from temperature and humidity to light and dust, and studied how to balance the needs of the contents with the needs of the structure. Their findings have led to the creation of an Environmental Improvement Plan for the Eames House, that we are looking forward to implementing as part of the next phase of work on the site.