It is only Wednesday and a lot has already been going on and getting done this week, which is always great news! I started Monday morning by, unfortunately, taking apart a display that was once in Vernon Park Museum. Vernon park has now ceased to be a museum as the building itself has been taken over by the company that runs the cafe, which has resulted in all the objects and items being returned to the Curatorial Services to go back in to storage. The display I was taking apart was titled ‘She Sells Sea Shells from the Seashore’ and showed a selection of some of the shells (and some coral and seaweed) that are in our collection; just a small selection considering there is 8 thousand-ish in the stores. As these were already on Modes as they were part of the collection all I had to do was simply take the display apart, physically, as the shells had been literally attached to the small wooden case that housed them. Small sticky foam like squares had been used for this job and so each individual shell had to be cleaned as a sticky residue had been left on them. To do this I used deionised water, however, the issue on most shells was so tiny that in most cases a wipe down with a cloth sufficed.
Currently we are in the process of moving from old Modes to new Modes and, oh, if only it was as easy as it sounds. New Modes is brilliant and has a lot of features that are perfect for collection management, for being able to access collections and interpret them. However, getting used to the new system is taking a while, but I am hopeful as soon as we do start to get a better understanding of this new system that it will be great. Soon all the information that is on old Modes will be transferred to new Modes, but any new records that are being made are being made straight on to new Modes. SO, the shells info is on the old system which can still be accessed but only in ‘read’ mode. As the shells weren’t labelled I had to do a search for the VP (Vernon Park) SheSellsSeaShells objects and view the photographs. I then had to identify each shell, label it with its identification number and the shell type. Then safely wrap the shells individually in tissue paper and a small box. Once everything was labelled and packed I had to find a new home for these to be stored in our collection. Within the Natural History department of our collection I did a search for similar objects and located them in the stores, I checked where these were currently being stored and if there was any space with them in their boxes, and there was, which I then filled with the shells from Vernon Park.
As old Modes can’t be edited I cannot change the locations for each object from VP to their new location in the stores here at the Curatorial Services which I would usually do straight away. However, I have a printout of each shells record and I have made a note of their new locations which I will change as soon as they are on new Modes.
Speaking of Modes!
I have at last been able to add some of my photos to the records I have recently made on new Modes and they look great! Having a picture is essential in identifying an object and being able to add them is so satisfying. This is apparent from the Vernon Park shells. I had to use their photographs to identify them individually because a lot of them were the same general type of shell. Given the description of ‘Conch Shell’ or ‘Cone Shell’ for half a dozen records each there is no way to differentiate them without referring to the photographs, which when I used them I was able to match shapes and markings and identify each shell without problems.
This picture shows some of the objects I have recently RD’d from the Air Raid Shelters and added to the collection. This is the ‘grid’ view of Modes where you can see a line per object and you can click on the information to bring up the more detailed profile. Without the photographs, the column they occupy now would be empty, which doesn’t sit well with me, but having them on makes new Modes seem more on our side. For now.
On Tuesday we had a team meeting regarding the redevelopment of Stockport Story Museum. Stockport Story is a little museum located just by the market hall in the centre of Stockport and next to Staircase House, the towns oldest house. Stockport Story Museum literally tells you the story of Stockport, starting in the Palaeolithic, you can travel through to the Victorian era and on to World War II and up to modern-day. The museum is great if you have grown up in Stockport or if you are visiting the area. There are some beautiful and interesting objects on display and some rooms are not to be missed! There is also a temporary exhibition gallery that houses exhibitions that connect well to Stockport and enable collection items to come out of storage. Currently in this space is ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ the story of a Stockport milkman and his involvement in this dramatic and daring event of World War II.
The redevelopment will be an ongoing project from now until 2015 and will involve some major changes. Before this team meeting at the Curatorial Services two meetings were held late last year and people involved in Stockport Story were invited to attend and voice opinions or ideas they may have. Our meeting on Tuesday involved looking back at these ideas and considering them from various viewpoints; are they feasible? Does it need to be done? Can it be done? Is this idea relevant to Stockport Story? Has this idea/issue already been previously addressed? And so on. Tuesday’s meeting was just an overview of the findings that were coming across and further meetings will be held in order to look at and understand what achievable goals can be set.
At this first meeting we were able to acknowledge the comments which ranged from, “How feasible is it to change the museums orientation?” to issues with display cases, the objects themselves, interpretation and more. Once we were aware of the issues that other people saw, Katie S (the technical trainee) and I took a trip to Stockport Story to have a look around ready for the next meeting. I am excited for this redevelopment. Stockport Story Museum is a great little museum and it deserves this revamp and to be recognized as the treasured asset to Stockport it is.