Behind the Scaffolding


Behind the scaffold-clad scenes at the Arup building, there’s been an awful lot going on. The enormous finback whale skeleton that used to greet all-comers to the museum has been dismantled and is now in safe storage.

Our other whale specimens have been carefully wrapped in situ, hanging in the gallery.  This task required our collections manager Matt and several expert conservators to undergo ‘scaffolding training’ before being allowed to ascend an 8m tall scaffolding tower to tackle the job.  The skeletons are wrapped in acid-free tissue, bubble wrap and Tyvek – a water and air resistant specialist conservator’s material.  This is how our whale pals look now!

hanging whales hanging whales2

From creatures great, to creatures small, we have to painstakingly pack them all!  For instance, our mounted bird collection – how do we pack several birds at once into a box without, literally, ruffling any feathers?  Filling in gaps between the birds with tissue didn’t seem adequate enough to avoid damage of our fragile friends. Thankfully, our on-the-ball conservators researched and discovered an ingenious method to remedy this – courtesy of Norwich museum. Simply, by hot-gluing magnetic discs to the underside of a specimen’s plinth and then placing in a crate lined with a magnetic sheet, the problem is solved. Several mounted birds can sit, rock-steady and nicely spaced apart. Here we can see the process in action.

magnet storyCome back next week for more news from ‘inside the cocoon’ as we prepare for our press event to launch our fund-raising appeal.


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