Materials Conservation are at the epicentre of all collection movement across the Museum, and April is going to be a superhighway!
After Easter, fortified by a major sugar hit, the Materials Conservation team alongside collections staff will move all objects from the Indigenous Australians gallery into storage while the gallery is renovated.
Next, the exciting new Pacific Spirit exhibition will be installed. More than 90 collection items, from massively heavy slit drums to delicately fragile Malagan masks will be moved into the gallery space, following a rigorous documentation and scientific preservation process to prepare it all for display.
In case that wasn’t enough for one month, the entire Long Gallery and parts of the Skeletons gallery will be moved out for the floor to be repaired and carpets replaced. This involves moving the elephant and giraffe skeletons, but first we had to secure a clean space to store all these items in the midst of building works.
Then, in the same week, the entire display will be moved back into position as if nothing had ever happened (except for the elephant, destined for Wild Planet, and the giraffe, destined for storage). This work occurs in conjunction with the highly skilled and very fashionable exhibition production team who specialise in moving large and/or delicate items.
In the Conservation team’s off-peak hours, you will find them painstakingly preparing objects for Wild Planet. Ask Megan Dean-Jones about hand-carving seven missing Aardvark claws from balsa wood — no joke: see the photographic evidence here.
Despite the renovations and building work, there’s always plenty to see and do at the Museum. Just mind out for the bison on wheels!