Home » Behind the Scenes of an Exhibition – Blog Post 2

Behind the Scenes of an Exhibition – Blog Post 2

Moving on Up: The objects make their way to Inverness.

Transporting objects from a collection is no easy task. It requires a great amount of forward-planning to ensure that each individual object is properly assessed and packed for travel. Several questions must be considered such as: what material is this object made of? How fragile is the object? Is it too heavy to lift?

Luckily, there are a great deal of materials available to those who work with collections to make packing and transporting objects safer. Acid-free tissue, Plastazote and Tyvek are just some examples of materials at our disposal!

Perhaps one of the most challenging objects we had to pack and move was a wooden cabinet that was almost twice the height of me and filled to the brim with old medicine from a local Kingussie Chemist. This cabinet was not an accessioned part of our collection but was instead used for display. To move it, the cabinet had to be split in two and the glass had to be secured with masking tape to prevent any breakage. It was then placed in a van where it would travel to the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery where it had to then be carried up a flight of stairs. (Spoiler: it survived!)

The awkwardness of moving such a large piece had to be considered and it was decided that the cabinet would not travel with the exhibition when it is displayed in Thurso. In collection management, plans can very quickly change when new information comes to light.

Wooden pram packed for moving
An example of tissue puffs being used for packing objects

The cabinet was the biggest item we had to move and luckily all the other items that were due to be loaned were much smaller. However, these smaller items still require a lot of care and need to be packed properly before they can travel. The aforementioned acid-free tissue paper can be seen in the photographs above. They have been fashioned into tissue-puffs to provide support for the items.

Perhaps the scariest item to pack, due to its fragility, was a 15th edition copy of William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine. To prevent further damage, we wrapped the book in Tyvek (in some very pretty bows) and supported it with Plastazote that had been specifically cut to the right size to keep it secure.

A book securely packed for moving using tyvek
A book supported by plastszote.

As I write this, all the objects due to be loaned are safely packed away and awaiting being picked up next week for their journey to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Packing artefacts is a task that takes a great deal of time and consideration, but similarly, it feels like you’re on an episode of Art Attack. I can only hope Neil Buchanan would be proud!

Keen to learn more about packing objects safely?