Hello all. I am re-posting here an email from our Chief Registrar, asking for some ideas on the subject of fire safety precautions in temporary gallery spaces. Please respond to me here or directly to her if you have any insight. Thanks!

-Ron Weaver
Exhibition Preparator
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
at Washington University in St. Louis

Dear colleagues,

I'm hoping that some of you would be willing to share with me your policies (written or not) regarding fire code and black boxes. Our parent university has recently hired a new fire safety inspector, and his expectations for our temporary constructions are very different from those of his predecessor. With a video show up right now with four black boxes, we're being asked to retrofit these temporary spaces with various types of permanent infrastructure - with 6 weeks remaining in the exhibition. I hope others here have found some creative ways to be safe - even on a temporary and economical basis!

To be a bit more specific, I'm looking for information about whether you do any of the following, and if not, if you have found good alternatives:
- Hard wire smoke detectors in temporary black boxes
- Pipe sprinkler systems in to temporary constructions with ceilings
- Add strobes to black boxes
- Add emergency lighting systems to temporary constructions
- Use "dropout" ceilings in lieu of drywall ceilings
- Contain sound while also upholding fire safety regulations
- Apply any other systems to ensure the safety (of building occupants specifically)?

I should note, since this is the registrars' list-serve, that our fire suppression systems are fully functional, there is no artwork per se in any of these boxes, and we have taken several fire safety precautions (emergency exit signs, fire extinguishers, no flammable building materials, etc.) in these spaces already.

Please feel free to contact me off-list if you have any insight or advice!

Many thanks,

Rachel Keith
Chief Registrar
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St. Louis
1 Brookings Drive, CB 1214
St. Louis, MO 63130
314.935.7282 (f)