Friday, 27 July 2012

Behind the scenes

By Linda Clifford

Behind the scenes at the museum is great fun on Tuesday mornings. This is when Jennifer the curator, Anne Thorne and Linda Clifford get together to explore the secrets behind the curtain in the back room at 4 Queen’s Gardens: otherwise known as the offices of the Preservation Trust. The treasures hidden there can be fascinating or mundane and some can even be “whoever would accession that?!” but they are never boring.

In 2011 Jennifer decided that she would like to sort out all of the costume collection and store it in a more user friendly fashion. So one fine week in August the work began but no-one realised just what a task they had taken on. Do any of you know how many pairs of shoes, or the number of hats, or the quantity of mourning clothes the museum possesses? Well, now, thanks to Jennifer’s new system you can soon find out BUT woe betide any of you if you decide to open and examine any of them - there is a lot of work involved in repacking them. Jennifer taught us the correct way to pack and store costumes in tissue paper and then into the appropriate box. Slide-out drawer boxes were provided for the shoes and small accessories with hat boxes purchased for the many items of headgear. No future curator will have any problems finding just what they are looking for in the costume store.

Jennifer then turned her attention to the picture collection – another monumental task. Every picture has been photographed (photographer Anne Thorne at work here, and again this was a learning curve to figure out the best angle to do the picture justice) and they now all bear a label with a photo and description making them easier to identify when required for an exhibition. Anne and Linda are now able to find their way around when repacking items from exhibitions but there is still a lot to do and Jennifer is sure to find more and more tasks for the enthusiastic duo.

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