The display cases that will show objects from the island cultures of the Pacific Ocean (a vast region we call Oceania) are about to be transformed.  We have already taken down the objects from this part of the gallery so these cases look empty.  All of the objects have been taken down and were safely removed to the on-site ethnography store.  We are preparing the cases for a major redisplay as the Discovering Worlds project enters its final phase


This is George, a member of our technical team.

Transforming these displays is a technical challenge and this is one of the reasons why we’ve had to set up a temporary wall in the gallery.  This allows our staff to work safely with the space they require.  We also want to surprise our visitors with an entirely new look to this part of the gallery.  Visitors will get the chance to have a sneaky peek at the new displays being prepared, so keep an eye out for future posts.

Once the museum objects have been relocated we then have to take out the display boards these items were suspended from.  We need to ensure that these wooden boards are coated with a protective material, covered with a new fabric and then refitted into the case.  What was once a plain calico will now be an ocean of blue.  The colour was chosen to highlight the significance of the sea for Oceanic peoples.

Here on the left you can see one of our technicians working hard.  See how the boards around him look shiny.  That is because the technicians have backed each of the boards with a metallic tape called Moistop foil.  This is frequently used to act as a barrier against off gassing from wood, MDF and other materials that could be potentially harmful to the objects going on display.  Inside our locked cases the environment is sealed and any exchange of gases from these wooden boards could damage organic materials.

Once this has been done the display boards are then covered with a beautiful blue fabric, made by a company called Baumann, to high standards that are appropriate for museum display.  The interior of the cases will be cleaned from top to bottom and then the display boards will be refitted.  There’s a lot of work still to be done before we install lots of interesting items.  The great news is that there’s also going to be new lighting wells fitted above the cases.