by Terah Walkup, Art Curator

PCA Commercial Photography students at MASS2019 is going to be a big year for the Collections Team as we move our collections from the offsite store where they’ve been housed since late 2016 to their new home in The Box. Here are some of the things our Art Curators have been doing behind the scenes over this past year to prepare for the move to the new galleries and stores!

One of the things we’ve been doing is working with Plymouth College of Art’s Commercial Photography students to capture new images of our collections. These images are now being used in the design for The Box’s new galleries – from small wall labels to large graphics. The images will also be used on some of our digital interactives.

We’ve enjoyed working closely with students on this partnership project which also provided them with a unique opportunity for their professional development. The students have photographed a range of objects from across the collection: from ceramics, paintings and books (more challenging than you would think!), to archival materials such as maps and historic documents.

In many cases, such as when pictures were taken of the cameras and video equipment at the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) it was the first time these objects had ever been photographed.

PCA Commercial Photography students prepping at MASS

One student remembered: ‘Photographing an old camera was fun and almost ironic while using a current digital camera.’

When asked which object was their favourite to photograph, one item from the SWFTA collections really stood out: ‘Gus Honeybun was interesting. Definitely the most weird and memorable item photographed’.

We’re chuffed with student feedback: ‘This was an incredibly interesting and once in a lifetime experience and has been great to work with some very passionate people.’

The students have done a great job and we are pleased with the results.

We’ve also been readying collections for display and undertaking conservation checks of all the works that will be on display when The Box first opens. Our conservators have also been working on small repairs to the gilding (or gold covering) to our historic frames so they will really shine in the new galleries.

Condition Checking Collage

In addition, we’re preparing how we’ll display these objects once they are conserved. Last autumn, we worked with one of our mentor museums, Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum, and hosted a costume-mounting workshop there for museum volunteers. We’ll have a rotating display of textiles in the ‘Our Art’ gallery and are excited about so many new possibilities for displaying our textile collection.

Costume Mounts Collage