In March the Hatton Gallery closed for 18 months in order to modernise and improve its facilities, entailing a large amount of building work. In order to keep the collections safe during this period it will be necessary to remove all works from the building giving the builders a safe and uncluttered space to work and preventing the collection from becoming damaged.
As with most galleries only a small amount of objects are ever displayed at one time. The Hatton stores are packed with a wealth of objects ranging from 14th century panel paintings to modern and contemporary works including sculpture, world history, prints and designs make up a rich and diverse collection of objects all of which have their individual packing needs and environmental requirements.
Some objects such as Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn wall is not possible to move and will have to be carefully sealed in a protective casing for the duration of the building works.
Over 3,000 objects will need to be moved. Each item carefully wrapped and labelled in order to go into storage at the Laing Art Gallery. Temporary mobile racking shelving and crates have been found to make sure no damage occurs in the move and the packing and movement of these objects will be supervised by the TWAM conservation team. Everything moved will need to be carefully documented and the records updated so they can be easily found in there temporary store because whilst the building is closed the collection is not and will still be used for exhibitions and loaned to other institutions.
During the last year the conservation team have carried out a survey of the whole collection in order to identify key items in need of attention. We hope that while the improvements to the building are carried out the conservation team will be supervising improvements to the collection. Many objects need cleaning or repairing in order to make them of an exhibition standard. A few were worked on for the final exhibition bellow (fig. a) is an image of Oval Landscape by John Kinnaird. The cleaned area is visible on the left.
The closure of the Hatton Gallery affords us an invaluable opportunity to work on the core collection and work the infrastructure of the buildings should improve the lifespan of the collections.