Since August Kylea Little, Keeper of History at Discovery, has been showing me how to look after the Social History collection. This job involves lots of record keeping so we can keep track of all our belongings. I’ve also been dealing with enquiries from members of the public, updating an exhibition case in the Newcastle Story gallery and helping to research, install and take down exhibitions.
For the remaining two months of my traineeship I am working with some of Discovery’s other collections to widen my experience.
This week Ian Whitehead, Keeper of Maritime History, let me help with some of his ship model work.
First, I saw the amount of time and expertise it takes to move a large ship model between different Tyne and Wear museum venues.
The picture below shows a ship model in the back of the transport van. The second picture shows the model being maneuvered towards the entrance of Discovery. The model is resting on a modified palette truck that Ian had custom made to help move heavy objects around more easily. Discovery’s older scissor lift tables only hold up to 750 kg, but the palette trucks can carry twice this weight and are much easier to navigate around tight corners.
The beautiful wooden ship is a representation of Noah’s Ark. It was one of the prizewinning entries for the Shipwrights Company Exhibition in London in 1942. A ‘shipwright’ is an old fashioned term for a shipbuilder who would design, build and repair wooden ships. The 48 inch long model was made in their free time by four shipwrights from the Palmers Hebburn Company in South Tyneside.
The Ark is stored in its original glass and metal case, which has started to come apart with age. It is rather heavy and cumbersome. After some clever thinking and with the help of another handy palette truck, Ian managed to get the model into its new home in the Maritime store.
In the picture below the model can be seen resting on wheeled boards. This is part of the museum’s storage policy: the model is kept above floor level in case of flooding, and can also be moved around the store room easily, without further need for the palette trucks.