by Val Grant, Collections Assistant
with thanks to Terah Walkup, Art Curator

The hard work is continuing behind the scenes as we prepare our collections for the move to The Box.

Staff are condition checking the permanent collections that will go into the galleries that are being developed for The Box. Myself and our other Collections Assistants have been helping the Curators and Conservation Officer with the task of assessing our ceramics and ethnography (world cultures) objects. This will help them decide if the objects require any treatment before going on display.

In the image below I’m checking an armadillo basket that originates from Brazil. It’s a really unusual object and is one of the 800+ items donated to the Museum in the early 1930’s by female mountaineer and explorer Gertrude Benham.

A museum assistant condition checking an armadillo basket

In this image we are condition checking some ceramic items that date from the 1700’s.

Museum Assistants condition checking ceramics from the Museum collections

Museum Assistant condition checking the SWFTA film collectionRecently, along with the Media Archivist and staff from the South West Film and Television Archive we’ve also been condition checking and repacking the film collection which has been stored in the old Museum Annexe. It is now being moved to our offsite store.

In addition, we’ve been working with our Art Curator to de-frame our works on paper and condition check them. They are them packed for storage while they await their new home in the art store in The Box.

The information we capture from this process is recorded and added to our database to ensure the collections records are as up to date as possible.

It’s a large amount of work but it’s always fantastic to see the amazing objects and items that us and our partners have in their collections.

Elsewhere in the offsite store, the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography students we’ve been working with from Plymouth College of Art have been capturing more great images of the Museum’s collections. The 18th century barber’s bowl pictured below is just one example. They’re now moving on to photograph some of our archive collections and we can’t wait to see the results.

An 18th century barber's bowl from the Museum collections is photographed by a student