by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

I’ve got a few new bits and bobs to share with you….. Firstly, if you haven’t yet watched it, here’s the latest web cam footage from the construction site. Although it’s all at high speed you can see lots of activity taking place on the piazza area in between the main building and St Luke’s Church.

I showed a journalist around the section of the site where the former Museum and Art Gallery building is earlier this week and it’s brilliant to see the galleries being prepped for fit out. Our contractors, The Hub, have been really busy setting up their site office, putting down a protective layer over the floors and getting to work in each of the spaces.

Just to give you a little flavour of how things are coming together, here’s an image of our ‘100 Journeys’ gallery which will display objects relating to Gertrude Benham, Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Chichester and more.

Photo of a gallery in development with blue walls

This is an image of our ‘Mammoth’ gallery where there’s a lot going on too.

Photo of a gallery in development with black walls

Another big development this month was the move of our ‘A Royal Game’ sculpture – yet another part of our fit out preparations.

Created in 1906, it depicts Queen Elizabeth I and King Philip II of Spain playing chess. Elizabeth commands her naval fleet and Philip controls the Armada. Since the Museum building closed in autumn 2016 it’s been stored in a purpose-built box on the mezzanine to protect it from construction activity. It’s now been relocated to the Council House.

Photo of four people in PPE clothing standing around a large sculpture in front of window

Moving the sculpture was no mean feat as although it’s made of plaster rather than metal it’s large and unwieldy. A team of four people worked non-stop for two days to take it apart, safely move it and put it back together. Some additional time has since been spent on it by our curatorial team to ensure it’s fully reassembled in its new home.

Photo of two men dressed in black measuring objects in a workshopAs if that wasn’t enough we’ve also had two external conservators at our offsite store assessing a number of objects that will be going on display.

Our mountmakers have also been back with some rather surreal-looking equipment to double check that the hundreds of objects they previously measured fit in their special display mounts.

And finally, what do the numbers 4, 7, 76 and 1,785 have in common? Well, they’re all linked to the packing and moving of some amazing historic books from our Cottonian Collection. A team of 7 staff and volunteers, packed and moved 1,785 books over 4 days (or 76 hours to be precise)! Now that’s girl power! We’ll be sharing more information and images about this on our social media channels over the next few days.

Photo of four women holding strong poses in front of a large bookcase