Behind the scenes at the museum! Collections Management in Action

Hello and thanks for looking at my blog. In these posts I’ll be telling you about how we manage TWAM’s collections and the people who are involved. 

Here is a recent picture of the Collections Management Team. Aren’t they a lovely bunch! It was taken during a recent visit to Beamish. I’ll be telling you more about them and what they do in this blog.

Collections Management Team

Collections Management Team

TWAM has collections stores at most of its 12 museums and galleries. At Beamish TWAM also has two shared stores called the Regional Resource Centre (RRC) and the Regional Museum Store (RMS) . 

One of the largest objects in TWAM’s collection is stored at Beamish in the RMS.  It’s the 1979 Doxford Engine. 

1979 Doxford Engine

1979 Doxford Engine

I also like this rather arty detail of the engine’s insides too.

Inside the engine

Inside the engine

The engine’s Accession Number is TWCMS : 1993.11163. This is its unique reference number. These numbers help us to locate each object in the collection and manage information about it in our collections management system – essentially a big computer database. 

The engine itself stands over 8 metres high! It is an amazing piece of engineering which stands as a tribute to the skill of Wearside’s marine engineers and shipbuilders. As collections managers we must ensure that every object in the collection is stored in appropriate conditions. We must ensure that metal objects such as this do not rust so the storage space has to be as dry as possible. The moisture content of the air needs to be very low, ideally no more than 30%. Keeping temperatures low (no more than 16 degrees C) also helps to slow down any deterioration of the objects.

For more information about the Doxford Engine click here.  

If you want to get more actively involved in research and conservation of the engine please contact the Doxford Engine Friends Association.  

My colleague John Clayson, who is TWAM’s Keeper of Science and Industry, has also written a book about the engine which is available from the Association or directly from John at Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Bye for now.


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