The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley *

9 01 2014

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,  Gang aft agley

It has been almost a month since my last blog post, so welcome back to those of you who have been loyal followers and to anyone else joining for the first post of 2014! There have been very specific reasons for the long silence – the obvious one has been the traditional construction industry shut-down for the Christmas break which meant that there has been relatively little to report from the site, but secondly I’ve had no time to sit at my computer as the collections care and curatorial teams have been cracking on with a huge and unexpected additional decant job which has taken over our lives.

Over the years I’ve watched enough episodes of Grand Designs to know that things don’t always go quite to plan, and while the first part of our decant programme in September went according to the schedule, unfortunately we have been unable to complete the process as expected. Our new stores are not yet ready for us to move into, but like one of those sliding tile puzzles, the ISG construction team need to move into the spaces that our collections currently occupy, so its all systems go and we are on the move again.

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Three stores have had to move and this includes works from all of our collections – fine art, textiles and wallpapers. New spaces have had to be cleared to make way for the collections, new boxes ordered for temporary storage, new short-term systems devised to accommodate items that should have moved instead to their permanent homes and every item carefully logged as their location has changed. All this has been achieved within a very chilly building and with no access to a lift – so a huge thanks is due to all Whitworth staff involved as well as all the extra external assistance. The downside is obviously the double handling and the cost of materials, staff time and other storage costs, while on the positive side this interim move has revealed some outstanding issues relating to permanent storage that call for collections management or collection care solutions and its been a great opportunity to shed those Christmas calories!

* For Robert Burns poem and an explanation of the dialect, see: http://www.electricscotland.com/burns/mouse.html

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