Beginning last week a team of museum volunteers have been tackling the manual work in the Gillinson Room, namely beautifying the rather orange 1960s units and removing the
awful (and literally sticky) varnish from the older, once lovely, case. So far, personally, I have completed six full days of sanding and, along with some of the other museum volunteers and our museum director; I estimate almost sixty hours of sanding was needed to completely strip everything back. This has had to be done by hand so has been a serious labour of love and we’re all a bit achy!
The purpose of all this sanding was to remove all the old varnish, grime and inconsistencies on the outside of the cases and prepare the insides of the cabinets for painting. We agreed early on that the insides of the cases should be white, so objects are visible, colour can be added, lighting will look nice and the whole thing is patchable if/when we scratch it. But what to do with the outside – the initial plan was to stain them a dark colour to get rid of the orange hue but sanding has done that for the most part. The huge difference sanding has made is making us reconsider our design choices, although we have finally come to a conclusion after way to many emails discussing wood colours.
Thankfully Monday finally saw the end of our mammoth sanding task – to be replaced with the epic mission of removing all the dust we created. The hoover has taken a serious beating and I dread to think how many buckets of water Anne and I lugged through the department, but painting began on Tuesday (hurrah!) This was initially held up when we realised we had some oil-based paint and some of it was water-based but problem solved and we can crack on. By the end of the week the insides of the cabinets will be ready to be filled with objects. Or at least they would be if the doors were re-attached. This won’t be happening for a few weeks whilst we let the paint air and dry. For those of you who want to use the Gillinson Room this should be possible from next week, but please mind the pile of forty (beautifully sanded) doors and our new paint work!