Thursday, September 9, 2021

Collections on the Move

At Wakefield Museums & Castles, we hold over 110,000 objects, which tell the story of our district from prehistory to modern day. As with most museums, we only have space to display a small proportion of these objects in our museums – the rest are carefully looked after in our museum store. You can go behind the scenes at the museum store here.

Racking in the store, with furniture and larger social history objects

In the autumn and winter of 2021, we will carry out a partial move of our stored collections. We need to move around half of our collections to a new building. Thankfully, this new building is on the same site as our existing store, so we don’t have far to move. However, it’s vital that we protect our objects during the move, so that nothing gets damaged.

Racking in the store, with boxed objects

To protect our objects, we are currently re-packing them, using conservation-grade materials such as acid-free tissue paper. This involves making lots of tissue puffs and tissue sausages, which we can use to pad out the box, making sure that the objects don’t move around when the box is lifted or carried. This also prevents the objects from touching or rubbing against one another, which can cause damage.

A re-packed box, containing glass bottles

Larger objects need to be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and bubble wrap, or secured in crates for moving. We’re also taking the opportunity to give everything a good clean. Conservation students Kylie and Zoe, from Lincoln University, have been helping us to clean our objects, using conservation cleaning methods.

All of this work takes a lot of time and effort. Our Collections team are working on this project almost full-time and we also have five amazing volunteers who are supporting us. Unfortunately, this means that some of our other services have been put on hold, while we focus our attention on the collections move. We are currently unable to respond to collections enquiries, image reproduction requests or offers to the collection, until further notice. If you have emailed us with an enquiry, we have noted it and we will respond to you as soon as possible once these services have been resumed.

It is our responsibility to care for our collections so that generations of people can enjoy, learn from, and be inspired by their heritage. Please bear with us while we work on this important project and stay tuned for more updates.  

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