The sanding and painting marathon is almost over in the Gillinson Room, with just a few stray splashes of paint to remove from the woodwork and some patches of paint to touch up were we’ve made nicks whilst joining the cases together (so they don’t land on someone’s head!)
We’ve started installing the lighting and are incredibly excited by the sheer range of colours and effects that we can create. The lighting will generally be white, so the true colour and textures of the objects are visible to viewers, but if the occasion arises there are a multitude of colours and lighting effects at our disposal.
The next task (once everything is sanded to perfection again) is to wax and seal all the wood work so another few days of solid elbow grease are about to commence. Once that is done, we’ll be returning to the more fiddly jobs, such as installing locks, bolts, handles, knobs and the rest of the lighting.
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!
The Gillinson Room is changing! Not quite beyond recognition but hopefully in significant and interesting ways.
Thanks to the School’s Strategic Development Fund we will be renovating the Gillinson Room and some of the surrounding corridors. We will be using the Museum collections to show off the School of PRHS (its research, teaching and museum) to students, visitors and the public. Previously the Gillinson Room displayed a number of objects from the Museum’s history of education collection and the medial collection, as well as two displays created by students who took part in history of technology modules in 2013/14. But it is due a new look.
This project will be running over the summer of 2015, and beginning last week, museum volunteers began to clear the room. The objects that were on display have been indexed and carefully packed away. The store has been tidied so we can find space for these ‘new’ objects to live. Some free standing display cases (previously used as storage space) have been brought up to the Gillinson Room from Chemistry West on a art-trolley (to some very odd looks from passers-by).
This reshuffle means that we can now have two full walls of cases in the Gillinson Room, which allows us to move the newer glass cases out of the room into other spaces. Visitors without access to the Gillinson will be able to see more or our exciting collections more of the time.
We will be painting, moving and reshuffling over the summer, so we apologise that the Gillinson Room won’t be looking its best for a few months. But, assuming there are no disasters, it will be ready for the new academic year.