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Ancient Lives Gallery Decant

An update on the ongoing work within the museum's new Ancient Lives Gallery
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Ancient Lives Gallery Decant

Maidstone Museum
13th Mar 2017
By Maidstone Museum

The Collections Team is halfway through emptying the current Egyptian, European Ceramics, and Toys & Games objects that have been on display in the ‘Egyptian Gallery’ for over 30 years. This work is the start of the exciting Ancient Lives Gallery re-display that will exhibit the Egyptian and Greek objects from the museum collection.

The decant project started with the documentation, photographing, and moving of the Toys & Games that are now on display in the Costume Gallery as part of the ‘Toy Emporium’. Simply rehousing these objects proved the perfect pilot test for the main gallery decant.

So far we have completed documenting, photographing, and carefully packing the remainder of the Toys & Games and all the European Ceramics ready for storage. The next phase focuses on the Egyptian objects, which will be moved and go on display in the temporary exhibition spaces so that visitors can still see them for as long as possible before they return to the new gallery.

The project involves the Collections Team and volunteers carefully removing the objects from display, searching the system for the correct object record (each object has its own record on Adlib, our digital collections management system), editing the records to add more detail, and then passing the objects to the photography station.

As part of the Ancient Lives Gallery project, staff and volunteers have received some excellent photography training from a professional museum object photographer. This has been really exciting as it has made our photography so much better and will mean that we have better images in our catalogue and, longer term, these records will be searchable on our website. It also means that we have some great images to share with you on social media and in our blogs!

The photography team is recording the image and object numbers so we can tally the images with the correct record at the end of the decant. We are also packing the objects and recording their new locations. This has involved all of the volunteers working very hard on making hundreds of tissue puffs to protect the boxed objects.

Once the decant is complete, we will be working hard to get the Egyptian objects on display in the temporary exhibition space, update storage locations, rename and edit the images ready to be linked to the records, and continue our work on finalising object choices and research for the new gallery.

The decant project is already showing great outcomes with hundreds of accurate records and images already making their way online, so keep an eye out for more on Facebook and Twitter!