As mentioned in an early post (or two), we are currently at the beginning of a redevelopment of one of our sites; Stockport Story Museum. At the moment this museum explores medieval, Victorian and relatively recent times in Stockport. This means that a lot of the collection is relative to Stockport, with some sort of connection to Stockport or a Stockport provenance. Unfortunately, this has meant that in the past the curatorial team have been very limited in the areas of the collection they have been able to use on display at this site despite having a wonderful extended collection in the stores.
But this is about to change!
Of course, with the redevelopment the museum’s content will still surround Stockport and its history, people, places, business and industries but there will be a new addition to the museum; a new area.
Last week the redevelopment began with the removal of one case. This case showcased costumes, suffragette related collection items and Victorian pieces, including a Victorian kitchen. Aptly named the costume case, it stood in a small room alone, almost sectioned off from the rest of the floor. The items in this case were not only removed but the case its self, despite it being built-in! The curatorial staff and I removed the collection pieces and then Katie S got to work removing the case, which you can read about HERE.
The reasoning behind this is that now this room can be used by the education staff with school groups visiting the gallery and so frees up the areas they previously used for more displays on the actual gallery floors.
Stockport Museum has 4 floors open to the public. The first floor is where temporary exhibitions are shown; this will stay the same. The second and third floors will be where the bulk of new Stockport themed cases and displays that are currently in development will be going and the top floor, floor four, is where something completely new is going!
On this top floor it has been proposed that an interactive space be put together. By ‘interactive space’ I mean an area that engages and provokes creativity. An area that will inspire activities and that can be, to some extent, interactive.
This also provides the curatorial team with the option to get out pieces of the collection not previously displayed at Stockport Museum, collection items that address other areas of the over all collection and that do not have to be tied to the Stockport area. For example, Egyptology, Archaeology and Natural History pieces from the collection will be in this area. Natural history in particular has been a topic for discussion as, despite a wonderful collection already here at the curatorial services we have, in the past weeks, been acquiring more! A large collection returned to us from Vernon Park (read about that HERE) and some pieces are held in the stores already, but with the unfortunate closure of the Schools Library Service building in Stockport they are looking to redistribute their current collection and we were very lucky to have the chance to go and visit to see if there were any pieces we could use.
The opportunity of a redevelopment is very rare and so the addition of these wonderful pieces will not only assist in helping the new areas but also the rest of the museum to look amazing. For example, pieces of taxidermy can be used to address social cases too…. a fox for example, in an urban area.
So here are a few photos from our visit to the library service, a lot of these items will be joining our collection, and some of these will hopefully be used in upcoming displays in the redevelopment and more exhibitions in the future. They are too wonderful not to be used!