Work has been progressing nicely this week.
The grocer’s section in work is now looking lovely thanks to a large shelving unit built on site by Dave. This has enabled Lauren to install lots of small objects and make them look wonderful! There are also some price labels in here – prizes for any smarty pants who can tell us whether we have the prices correct or not!!
We have also managed to install the World War Two plan chest just in time for Village at War (including temporary object labels). This is based on the World War One case which has been moved back up from the farm. It contains different types of object on six different themes – Air Raids, Private Charlie Card, Women at War, Toys and Games, Dig for Victory and Prisoners of War. Charlie Card never came back from the front and the drawer dedicated to him contains his medals and certificates which his family kept in pristine condition before donating them to the museum in 2015. You might recognise the game in the Toys and Games drawer – this unusual air raiding board game has been used during Village at War before. It is very rare – even the Imperial War Museum don’t have one.
Updating on the computer continues – thanks to volunteers for identifying and correcting the mistakes I have made (you know who you are!) and to Lauren for updating 102 objects from the Freddie Beckerton travelling salesman collection in one afternoon.
This week we have installed the new interactives into the gallery. Jan has worked on some new books. These are for families to read together. In each book are a number of challenges related to the story. These are designed to help our visitors really look at the objects in the cases. We’ll see how these go. Hopefully we can add and change books so that repeat visitors have new books to explore every time they come back.
We have also been continuing to work on recording the locations of objects in the gallery. This takes time but is really important to get it right.
We have also been working on the next workhouse network meeting in September. This is called “Was the workhouse so bad” and different workhouse sites are coming together in Llanfylllin in Wales to discuss how workhouse sites can tackle contemporary issues of poverty, welfare and mental health. We’ll hear about different projects and get lots of time to network and explore the topics.
We are now onto Phase 2 of Collections Gallery installation. It looks like nothing much has changed in the last few weeks but we are still working steadily behind the scenes.
The majority of the objects have now been installed. We are working on updating our computer records to ensure they are all accurate. This isn’t a simple business. For every object we need to enter it’s unique accession number, edit the computer record, add the new location and revise the old locations. In some cases we need to make new records (where previously a group of 6 objects were given a single number we need to sub-number them – making a total of 6 records for 6 objects) and photograph objects. We then need to group the records per case and save and print records for each case.
Once we have done all this (and there are over 2000 objects in the new gallery) we will then move on to write the new object labels for the cases. Every single case will have a label that tells our visitors what is inside the case. This was a major point from evaluation of the gallery previously – people wanted to know what they were looking at. So we will be writing labels for each of 4 shelves in each of the 34 cases (making a total of 136 labels!).
As well as all of this computer work we have also been discussing the interactives for the gallery and very soon we will be installing new explorer cards for families to use. We hope these will help families to look closely at the objects and really engage with them.