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- Featured Objects - Baughan Motorcyle
- Featured Objects - the Berkeley Maces
- Featured Objects - Anglo Saxon Mill Paddles from Nailsworth
- Featured Collection - Casein
- Featured Collection - Prinknash Pottery
- Collections Policies
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- 2016 - The World at War
- 2017 - The Home Front
- 2018 - Medals, Souvenirs and Legacy
- Echoes in Enamel Project
- Stories from the Collection
- Trephined Skull
- Bragg Clock
- Beaker Boy
- Woolly Mammoths
- The Story of Animation in Stroud
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- The Gate to The Secret Garden Print
- The Walled Garden Project
- Walled Garden Plan
- Walled Garden Brief History
- Walled Garden Project Photographs
- Secret Garden Public Photography Day 2013
- The first Walled Garden Residency by Quercus
- Only the Flame Remains: A Collection of Poems
- Museum Volunteers
The December Shut Down
It’s that time of year again, the shops are busy, the nights are long and the Museum is closing for the annual December shut down. Unfortunately, this incredibly important time always leads to some disappointed customers (which we understand – we love our Museum and are delighted that people are so keen to visit). As a result, we thought we’d take the time to explain some of the important work that goes on during this month of closure.
The first thing we should clarify is that (sadly) the Museum staff do not get a month of leisure. After a couple of days, we tend to be dreaming of those comparatively blissful days in the summer holidays, where we have hundreds of visitors, multiple workshops and we are all walking around in a rushed but controlled fashion (no running in museums, you see). Aside from a few external contractors who decorate and do specific cleaning jobs, all of the deep cleaning is done by the Museum staff.
The planning for the shut down begins a few months in advance. We do a full survey of the building, looking to see which rooms are in need of decoration, which objects need conservation and what repair jobs are needed through all the sites. As you can imagine, the building maintenance in a 350 year old mansion house can be quite extensive, from the cracks in the walls, to the wonky floors and not to mention the roof which seem to tenaciously find new and inventive ways of leaking.
The next phase is planning the rota, which involves organising the cleaning over our four separate sites. The Museum stores are located in three different buildings in three different locations, with 51,000 objects that need caring for and conserving. We also have to try and to ensure that the external contractors can work around the Museum staff, as we completely disassemble certain rooms, whilst deep cleaning the others.
This year we are undertaking the daunting task of removing the enormous Alfred Newland Smith painting from the Main Hallway. This involves sub-contracting a specialist team to take down the piece and later replace it. Whilst the painting is off of the wall it will be given specialist cleaning and the backing repaired. We will also take advantage of not-usually accessible wall space and redecorate the entire Main Hallway area.
The rooms that are not being redecorated are subject to an intense deep cleaning process. This is an incredibly important task and with over 55,000 visitors coming through the doors each year, there is a huge amount of work to be done (if you’re in any doubt of this, have a quick internet search of death watch beetles, carpet beetles and webbing clothes moth larvae – these are just some of the little chaps we are in battle with). This deep cleaning not only involves cleaning and caring for every part of the room, but also the conservation cleaning of the objects on open display. For the purpose of giving you an insight into this process, here is a rather dry list of the basic schedule for each room:
- The light fittings (remove cases, dust and dispose of the dead things that gather here).
- The spotlights and their tracking rail (dusted).
- The cornicing and picture rails (dusted).
- The shutters, inside and out (wiped with a damp cloth).
- The windows (wiped with a damp cloth, dusted, vacuumed).
- The window shields (removed, wiped with damp cloth).
- The tops of the shows cases (dusted, tops removed and light fittings cleaned and vacuumed).
- The glass of the show cases (given a good old polish).
- The doors (dusted and cleaned with a damp cloth).
- The radiators (dusted and cleaned with a damp cloth).
- The walls (marks carefully removed with a damp cloth).
- The skirting and bottom of display cases (dusted, marks removed with a damp cloth).
- The carpets (if not scheduled for professional cleaning, spot cleaning with an old fashion scrubbing brush and then carefully vacuumed).
- Open display interactives (dusted and wiped clean).
- Open display objects (conservation cleaned).
Each room is different and of course this list does not encompass much of what is done, but it does give you some idea. One room will take one person on average 6 to 8 hours to complete; however, this varies depending on the size of the room and how many objects we have on open display - some rooms take much longer.
December is a very busy, incredibly important time for the Museum. It is essential in keeping up the high standards that we are proud to have and most importantly, it means our collection is conserved and cared for, ensuring that it can be enjoyed by all of us for many years to come.
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