We are preparing for a new exhibit in the museum that will open Sat., May 12, and because it’s a larger exhibit that most we’ve done in the past, it is taking a lot of separate steps and moves to get there.We are also trying to improve exhibit spaces as we go, including shoring up the wobbly central divider in the large cases where the new exhibit will be housed.
I think most people have no idea what steps might go into prepping for such an exhibit in a small museum, even before the first artifact is placed (I know I didn't before working on this!). So here’s our "sliding square puzzle" so far:
- To make room for new exhibit, empty large NE case of misc. artifacts, including antique dental tools and a leather studded deed box. Really no space available in the museum, but try to fit a few objects into storage cabinets, a few into existing displays, and the rest pack into boxes and ID. Organize a group of volunteers to move boxes downstairs into cars, then upstairs into our off-site Town Hall storage room. (OK, I’m tired already.)
- Move existing exhibit on the Civil War (put up last October) to SW cabinet so this SE case can also be used for the new exhibit.
- BUT, the SW cabinet is chock-a-block with ceramics, glassware, pewter, needlework and more, so this cabinet first needs to be packed (carefully) in boxes, ID-ed, and moved via the same slow process to the Town Hall.
- NOW we could move the Civil War exhibit over to the other side, BUT we need the cases – at least on the east-side – empty, so our pro bono carpenter can get in and measure what he needs, go build it, and come back and install it without damaging any artifacts.
- Which means taking the Civil War exhibit down and putting it into a holding box for now, BUT not before taking snapshots of the exhibit so we have a guide to put it back up!
- Next, vac each case to get rid of the sawdust (and the old dust) before putting artifacts back in.
- Rebuild the Civil War exhibit in the SW case using the photos.
- Empty the smaller cabinet of ceramics while we’re at it (across from the stairs) so the ceramics stay together, and replace with interesting items that we think will catch people’s attention, including a nice collection of pewter I hadn’t noticed before when it was spread out.
- Make new signs for the pewter and the other “interesting items,” because the old signs, where they exist, mostly have faded hand-written text on yellowing paper. Are we done yet?
This is all before the first artifact or label can be placed for the new exhibit. These steps took weeks -- not days -- with lots of people helping (Huddie Bardwell, Max Krause, Bill Parmeter, Linda Golash, Ruth Kellogg, and DPW crew member Bill Young. Thanks to all. Additionally, many thanks to Jonathan Bardwell of Bardwell Woodworking and Remodeling, for the great job he did shoring up the dividers, and in the small window of time we needed.
With perseverance and a little luck, we'll be done by May 12 for the opening of the new exhibit! More info on that to come.