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Museum volunteers prepare for the move

What do crackers, woolly bears and puffs have in common? They were all part of an Object Handling and Packing course for museum volunteers held on 22nd February 2019.

Helena Jaeschke (Museum Conservation Officer for the South West) took everyone through the kinds of pests they should watch out for (the larvae of carpet eating beetles are known as woolly bears), how to create bespoke tissue paper supports for objects (crackers and puffs), and how to approach moving objects of different shapes, ages, materials and fragility.

This all comes under the umbrella of preventative conservation: how to look after items well in storage to prevent their deterioration and preserve them for generations of museum visitors and researchers.

Helena’s ‘object first’ approach will be a vital part of preparing the museum for the big move. The museum will be relocating to Newton’s Place by the end of this year, and it is important that both new volunteers and ‘old hands’ have an understanding of the best practices for looking after the collection during and after the move.

Although preventative conservation is serious business, Helena created an engaging workshop that combined huge amounts of information with fun and humour. Our volunteers are now armed with full knowledge of best practice and re-energised to tackle the enormous job of readying our thousands of objects for their new home.

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