From Bronze Age clothing to The Beatles, it's been an eclectic and exciting few months for me as I gather material together for the new galleries....
I'm Special Projects Assistant working on the Museum of Lancashire project and there are two sides to my role. The first is to assist the curators in gathering material for the galleries. This includes me trotting off to local libraries and rummaging through their local image collections.But it's not only images I'm on the hunt for. At Oldham library I spent an afternoon going through old newspapers looking for announcements of accidents in cotton mills. Sadly, it wasn't that difficult as there were so many.
On a cheerier note, I've been to the North West Film Archive in Manchester where I found clips of Lancashire greats such as George Formby and Gracie Fields for us to play in our 'mini cinema' in the 'Lancashire at Play' gallery. I've also been to the North West Sound Archive where I found various sound bytes for the galleries (including people talking about local food...anyone for sparrow pie?)
On the research front, I've been gathering information on clothing from way back in the Bronze Age all the way up to Victorian times. I've also been given a space in the 'Lancashire at Work' gallery to fill, so I've been learning all about working conditions in the mills and mines of Lancashire, as well as finding out about bizarre rituals carried out by local friendly societies.
The second part of my job takes me off the road and into the museum stores. I've been identifying, cataloguing and tracking nearly 1000 objects destined to go on display in the Museum of Lancashire. Once located, the objects need to be catalogued on our museum database KE EMu. Here we log important but obvious information like what it is, where it comes from and where it's stored. Once we have this information I can track the object as it makes its journey around the site. An object moves from the store to conservation for condition checking and possible treatment, then to the workshop where our wizard technicians make made-to-measure mounts, then the object returns back to store (where it waits while the designers, technicians, curators and everyone else runs around putting the rest of the gallery together) ready for it to go on display when the museum re-opens.
The moustaches in the photo belonged to star of stage and screen Hylda Baker and are going to be put on display in the new 'Lancashire at Play' gallery. They have just come back from Lancashire Conservation Studios where they were checked over and given a light surface clean. They are now ready and waiting to go to the technician's workshop for mounting.
I'm also busy organising loans from other museums and individuals. We have fantastic collections across Lancashire County Museum Service but sometimes we have to look elsewhere to fill the gaps and also bring new things from museum stores and private collections to public display. Recently I've been talking to the Beatles Story in Liverpool about a loan and we've also recently loaned objects from comedian Dave Spikey.
Cheerio, back to the store for me....