Decant Day, 13 April 2016: Spring Progress Report

By Steve Conway, Decant Officer

Is it me or is spring in the air?  All the signs are there:  the daffodils, the buds on trees, the sparrows nesting in the eaves of my roof.  And yet 60 mph winds battered the South West at the weekend, while a friend of mine in Cardiff posted a video of a full on blizzard which ruined his plans for a family day out at the beach. One thing’s for sure though, change is in the air.

After a winter of planning and yet more planning, springtime heralds a flurry of activity here in Decantland! The buds of our winter labour are emerging at Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery and the long awaited decant is officially flowering!

Throughout March, braving the wind and rain, a local removals firm helped museum staff with the heavy work of sorting out and emptying storage areas full of old furniture, display cases and equipment. Some of these items will be offered to other museums or used during our programme of exhibitions at local venues while we are closed. Other items of display equipment will go into temporary storage ready for new exhibitions when the History Centre opens in 2020.

The outcomes of this clear-out are that we now have ample space on the ground floor of the museum to store all the packing materials for the decant. We can also re-house our learning collections in a more accessible and improved storage environment so our Learning Development Officers can continue to deliver activities to schools and communities.

Exhibition Store cleared for packing materials
Exhibition store in the City Museum and Art Gallery cleared for packing materials

Other news is that a dedicated in-house Decant Team has been established to provide technical support for the move so we can ensure that objects have adequate and appropriate storage when they’re transported to MASS, (Museum Art Storage Site). Staff and volunteers will also be working in the store, so we need get everything in place to make the workspace as efficient, safe and comfortable as possible.

Shelves at MASS ready for the decant
Shelves at MASS ready for the decant

Specialist transport firms have been assessing the large and heavy objects and paintings that we can’t move ourselves and we’ll be appointing contractors later this month to start work in the summer.

Meanwhile look out for news about our special summer exhibition where you can learn new skills helping museum staff pack some of our objects, share your memories about the museum and find out more about the History Centre!

 

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