It’s a well-worn epithet that museums are much like icebergs. What goes on public display is merely the tip of that iceberg, while a colossal chunk of the collection remains invisible below the surface.
Housed in our stores, access to these unseen specimens is usually only granted for educational and research purposes. The primary function of our stored collection will continue to be as an invaluable educational resource, but thanks to our funding boost from the HLF, our new store facilities will be built to accommodate guided tours, offering public access to our entire collections for the first time ever!
This is how are stores look at the moment. You can see here aspects of the bird store, and the spirit store:
Last week, we were allowed on site to visit where our new stores will be located. It doesn’t look like much now, but it was exciting to see how much space our collections will have to be stored, studied and viewed in when the redevelopment is complete.
The vast majority of the artefacts that were on display in the public gallery have been wrapped, boxed-up and removed. The final phase of packing-up will now be focused on the bulk of our iceberg – the specimens in our stores. We have a September deadline. Watch this (soon to be empty) space…