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Going the distance

Workers move the 49-foot beam, the largest art object in the MFA, in October 2008. Workers move the 49-foot beam, the largest art object in the MFA, in October 2008. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File)
By Sarah Mupo
Globe Correspondent / November 14, 2010

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AT 49 FEET long and 800 pounds, this 17th-century timber beam is the largest art object in the Museum of Fine Arts — and it was not an easy installation. You might say the beam, considered architectural sculpture, was brought to the MFA in October 2008 so the Art of the Americas Wing could be installed around it. With construction underway, more than 20 people from the museum staff navigated the beam into a gap through the connector wing on the Fenway side to its final home in the 17th-century Manning Room. The first art object to enter the new wing, the beam is now on display above some of the gallery’s period furniture and silver. It was preserved from the Colonial-era Manning residence in Ipswich.

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