November 12, 2020
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contact: Rebecca Dawson, Director of Communications
860.443.2545 ext. 2112 / [email protected]


New London – Within every object, tool or device are dozens of components that work together to represent the highest levels of creativity, passion and achievement of their time. When it comes to the objects we use every day, the sum really is greater than the parts.

Things Come Apart, a traveling exhibition circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), features the works of creative photographer and tinkerer Todd McLellan, who explores the evolution of the smartphone and dozens of other everyday technologies. The traveling exhibition opens at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum on Saturday, Nov. 14, and remains on view through Feb. 7, 2021 before continuing its 12-city national tour.

“This exhibit reveals to us the inner workings of our favorite things,” said Sam Quigley, Director of the Lyman Allyn. If you’ve ever asked what makes a clock tick, this exhibit will be a revelation! In addition, McLellan’s images are a must-see for photography fans.”

Through more than 40 captivating photographs, videos and objects encased in acrylic, Things Come Apart displays the complex parts of products across multiple industries. McLellan spent countless hours disassembling objects of all sizes and functions—from a watch to a laptop to a Walkman and even an upright piano—into hundreds or even thousands of pieces with painstaking precision. With each object fully stripped to its basic parts, he methodically worked backwards, laying out each item in reverse order from the protective case to the smallest circuits until the true scope of each design was captured. The resulting images, grouped alongside other items built for similar purposes, provide a visual history lesson of mechanical innovation and highlight the contrast between old-world craftsmanship and sleek modern engineering.

“We don’t always think about the tools we use, but working on this project has given me a greater respect for engineering of newer technology,” said McLellan, who also disassembled bicycles, compasses and power drills, among other things. “It’s remarkable how much modern design packs into so little.”

For more information or images, please contact Rebecca Dawson at 860.443.2545 ext.2112 or at [email protected].

Things Come Apart is an exhibition organized by Todd McLellan and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

About Todd McLellan
McLellan is a photographer who specializes in conceptual work. He nurtured his love for conceptual photography at the Alberta College of Art and Design, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002. He released the book Things Come Apart in 2013 and continues to make inspired visuals in his Toronto studio and on location which can be seen at

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 12 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 2129 or visit us on Facebook or the web at:

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