Medal work wonders

Visitors to the museum are always impressed, and often moved, by our marvellous Medal Room.

With more than 3000 medals charting bravery and service throughout the centuries on display, it’s easy to see why. We are working hard to make sure that this area of the museum remains a very special place to be.

A number of the displays need to be remounted to fit into the space available.  It is a time consuming labour of love, which needs an eye for detail, meticulous measuring skills and a lot of patience.

Luckily we have just the man for the job.  Brian, one of our brilliant volunteers, is methodically working his way through eight of the boards, improving the way the medals are presented so that the Medal Room continues to exert its wow factor.

It takes about three days to completely remount one of the boards.

First the medals must be removed; working top to bottom unpinning groups of medals belonging to an individual.

Once they’ve been taken off, there’s the chance to replace any damaged or deteriorating ribbon before the process of remounting begins.

Brian has created his very own bespoke toolkit for the task, containing a set of spacing, holding and pinning tools to help ensure the medals are replaced onto the boards in a strictly uniform way.

It’s incredibly effective, but not necessarily hi-tech.  A wooden take-away coffee stirring stick is the perfect width to ensure the space between the medals in the group are equally spaced!

Once Brian is happy with the line up, he fixes the ribbon to the board.

The holding pegs are removed and the ribbon folded over on itself and the medal group lays flat in its new home.

Next, a small silver pin is inserted between the medal and the ribbon to hold it all still.

Finally the tiny nameplate showing who the medals were awarded to is replaced.


Brain says that the Medal Room is an impressive and memorable feature of the museum, and he’s privileged to be the latest in a line of dedicated staff and volunteers who have maintained these personal links with brave men.

Brian usually works on the medal boards in The Normanby Room on Wednesdays or Thursdays each week, so if you are planning a visit, you may be lucky enough to see him engrossed in his fascinating task.