by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

As those of you who’ve been reading our blog posts will know there’s a lot of packing going on behind the scenes at the City Museum and Art Gallery!

We’re emptying the building bit by bit so we can hand it over to the construction firm who will be working on the development of the History Centre from the end of this year.

Many of our hard working staff are heavily involved in this process. They are being ably assisted by a number of volunteers who are giving up their time to help us with what is a very labour intensive and time consuming task – otherwise known as the ‘decant’.

The staff and volunteers who are working on the decant have all benefited from training over the past few months. Most recently, we ran a session led by National Trust conservator Neil Wressell. Neil has previously worked for the Museum and Art Gallery and Tate and it was great to see him again.

Packing training session - summer 2016

Conservator Neil Wressell at our recent packing training session

Our collections are the reason the Museum and Art Gallery exists in the first place and their care is our top priority at all times. We have a lot of things to move in a short space of time and need to make sure this is done in the most appropriate way. Neil’s session was really practical and gave everyone lots of useful advice about how to pack objects as safely as possible.

Ian Cox, our Visitor Services Team Leader took part in the session and he explains more:

“The training course was geared towards enabling us to pack, move and transport collection objects from our larger paintings right down to our smaller items.

This isn’t like a normal house move! There’s a reason why our artefacts are here in the Museum. Some are very significant – like our Plymouth Porcelain collection for example. Others are very old and fragile. Each object has to be wrapped very carefully. We then have to record each one – making sure its logged so we know when its transported from the Museum to our offsite store and we can track it all the way through its movement.

We need to have everything out of the building by the end of December so we haven’t got that long to get everything done and that’s why we’re using volunteers to help us.

It’s quite an involved task and this is just a small part of the packing and transit phase of the History Centre project. The end product will all be worth it though. It will be fantastic when we bring everything back into the new building.”

You can listen to Ian talking and get an insight into the training session in our latest ‘Behind the Scenes’ video. Just click and watch!