The December Shut Down

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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News Archive

07.11.2018 Walled Garden a Regional Finalist
28.09.2018 Collections inspire IN-Sight
28.07.2018 Meet the Curator events this August
27.07.2018 Accredited Museum launches summer programme
31.05.2018 The fascination of the Museum Collection
25.05.2018 The first Stroud Shakespeare Festival
19.03.2018 Art Lovers Weekend at the Museum
18.12.2017 Cathedral of Cloth: Celebrating 600 years of Ebley Mill
29.11.2017 December Deep Clean
24.11.2017 Walled Garden Highly Commended
22.11.2017 Museum work showcased
25.10.2017 Museum Collections Inspire New Book
19.09.2017 Certaine Wytches: Fear, Myth and Magic
01.09.2017 Museum retains national quality mark
04.07.2017 Children's Festival coming to town this weekend...
22.06.2017 Museum Art Gallery Runner Up in Gloucestershire Awards
24.05.2017 Palaeontology is a Dangerous Beast
22.05.2017 The Watery World of the Ichthyosaur
02.05.2017 Celebrate Museums at Night at the Museum in the Park
13.04.2017 The alternative St Georges Day at The Museum in the Park, Stroud
28.02.2017 Animation in Stroud
22.02.2017 Tales of Nonsense...
31.01.2017 Preliminary Design for Stratford Park Leisure Centre
06.01.2017 Inspired Tales - Storytelling Workshop For Adults
06.12.2016 The December Shut Down
28.10.2016 Autumn Celebration - Apples & Pumpkins Day
14.10.2016 Stroud's VCs
07.10.2016 Walled Garden Opens 8th & 9th October
22.09.2016 The Wonder of Wildlife in Gloucestershire
16.09.2016 Garden to open soon..
12.09.2016 Motoring Heritage brought to life
11.09.2016 Worldwide Impact of Stroud Cloth
07.09.2016 Historic Motorbike gets a run out for Heritage Open Day
19.08.2016 New business skills training sessions at The Museum in the Park
05.08.2016 Museum borrows a Post Office...
27.07.2016 Museum is a 'Quality Visitor Attraction'
20.06.2016 Exclusive Sneak Peek During Exhibition Launch
20.05.2016 Happy 90th Birthday: Babies of 1926
04.05.2016 Enter if you dare...
26.04.2016 Colour in Stroud's history over tea and cake...
12.04.2016 Echoes in Enamel Part Two - 'A Double Tragedy Near Stroud'
22.03.2016 15 Years of the Museum in the Park!
20.03.2016 Keeping Craft Skills Alive
18.03.2016 Grand Entrance for Revived Walled Garden
12.03.2016 Meet our Spring Artist in Residence at The Museum in the Park
04.03.2016 IMPRESS Printmaking Festival returns to The Museum in the Park
21.01.2016 Special event for National Storytelling Week
05.01.2016 Commemorative Material from Putten, Netherlands
26.11.2015 Museum Closes in December for Deep-Cleaning
23.10.2015 Patchwork Meadow Exhibition in Gallery Two
06.10.2015 You are invited to take part in the world's biggest festival of drawing!
30.09.2015 Fieldwork: New Work in Willow and Other Materials by Dail Behennah
27.08.2015 Work begins on Walled Garden Entranceway
18.08.2015 Tourism board praises Museum in the Park
21.07.2015 Museum remains a 'Quality Assured Visitor Attraction'
15.07.2015 Finding Alice in the Museum in the Park
03.07.2015 Walled Garden gets funding boost
12.06.2015 Waterloo - 200th Anniversary events at the Museum
01.06.2015 Objects of Desire and Delight
21.04.2015 The Miniature Museum of Museums has arrived!
27.03.2015 First pupils set foot inside the new Learning Pavilion
16.02.2015 Arts Council grant to help bring forgotten wartime stories to life
09.02.2015 New learning building for the district
05.02.2015 Secret Garden Silhouette Screen back at the Museum on 14th and 15th February
04.02.2015 Forgotten wartime stories to be brought to life
20.11.2014 Creative Talent supports Stroud's Secret Garden
03.11.2014 Remembering World War One - local stories, local impact
22.10.2014 Secret Artist 2014 - Save the date!
25.09.2014 Celebrate Poetry Past & Present
12.09.2014 Musical matchsticks go on show at the Museum
10.09.2014 A poetic celebration of Laurie Lee country
27.08.2014 Get on your bike to celebrate the Tour of Britain as it comes through the Stroud district
14.08.2014 Creating a buzz at the Museum in the Park
07.08.2014 Raise a Pint to the Pavilion!
15.07.2014 The Consumer Society under a Mosaic Microscope
26.06.2014 Roses for Laurie Lee's Birthday
25.06.2014 Chadwick's Place in Art History
12.06.2014 You are invited to step inside a world-famous sculptor's studio!
01.05.2014 Help celebrate 'Cider with Rosie', Laurie Lee's international bestseller!
22.01.2014 Artist in Residence at the Museum
05.01.2014 Museum Strikes Bronze
06.12.2013 Opening up Stroud's Secret Garden one step closer
13.11.2013 Art in Boxes
31.10.2013 Halloween Horrors from the Collections
29.10.2013 Secret Garden Photography Workshop
15.09.2013 Museum opens store for public tours

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