The museum is closed during January, but the team is working hard behind the scenes to ensure when we reopen on Friday 1 February, everything is fabulous for your visit this year.
In terms of desk work, there’s a lot of research and planning taking place as we head towards our next new major exhibition – Hostile Environment. The story of the soldiers sent to Russia at the end of the First World War is little known, so we need to make sure we are all fully up to speed on what happened, where, when and why, in order to create this exhibition, which we are very excited about.
Family history research continues, and we are also working nationally to deliver the Sporting Heritage and the Armed Forces project; working with partners to create a series of online and real-time exhibitions on this fascinating area of military life.
We’ve also finalised our programme of talks and events for the year. These are a vital element of our fundraising efforts, so as well as having an interesting and entertaining time in the stunning surroundings of our Normanby Room, you’re also helping the museum. From tea and cake to revolutions, an alternative D-Day story and a dip into the private diaries and precious personal correspondence held in our collection, it’s certainly a varied programme! Take a look and book now.
Now onto the hard physical labour side of things. You may be surprised to learn that although we all love history, heritage and working in a museum, we can also be quite practical when the need arises. In fact, we relish the challenge of rolling up our sleeves and doing all the jobs that have been added to our maintenance list through the year.
We’ve repainted part of the shop to provide a dramatic backdrop for key pieces from our stock, polished the silver from the Normanby Room display cases, created new storage in our first floor servery so that we can run our Normanby Room events even more efficiently, and generally had a good old clear out of random things that gradually amass over the visitor season.
However, our key task this January is to implement our Medal Room Improvement Plan.
In preparation for the main joinery work on the new display cases and drawers to begin, we have removed thousands of medals, carefully labelled and ordered them ready for cleaning.
This is a huge task, and our volunteers are proving invaluable in spending hours getting them all spruced up and ready to be remounted on their boards and then put back into this much loved space.
The cleaning process is intricate and fiddly, but the results are hugely satisfying. “You’ll look at a medal group and think to yourself, well they all look lovely and shiny, this won’t take long,” says volunteer Anne Forster. “Then you get to work with a very soft brush and some specialist cleaning product and it’s amazing to see an even more impressive display emerging.”
There will be certain points when when we will have to close the Medal Room for work on the new cabinets and information panels to happen.
It will mean that both the Medal Room and Normanby Room will be closed to visitors. We will try to keep disruption to a minimum, and will update you via social media and our plan your visit page.