Monday, 17 December 2012

Musical Boxes

We are making progress with the preliminary stages of VERVE, getting things in place before the project kicks off fully in January. After a recruitment process which, as expected, drew a high calibre and high number of applicants, we now have most of the posts allocated. It will be wonderful to welcome some new faces and fresh ideas to the Museum.

Technicians and electricians continue the task of installing more than 100 metres of new LED lighting, although delivery delays have meant that the Court phase is expected to finish in the new year, rather than before Christmas. 

In preparation for the lighting work in the Upper Gallery, the collections and conservation staff today began the considerable task of moving nearly 500 boxed musical instruments from their home in the large wall cases behind the totem pole. These will be moved to a secure temporary holding area before a new space is prepared for their long-term storage at our main repository in Oxford.  

Maddie and Andrew sort through the music boxes, whilst Acting Deputy
Head of Collections, Faye Belsey keeps a list of the objects and their numbers.

These boxes contain some rare and unusual instruments from all around the world, such as a Sudanese lyre with tortoiseshell sound-box, a decorated lute from Malaysia or an 18th-century hammered dulcimer. It is important that every object is checked and its move noted down, in order to update the location field in our collections database. We must know where every object is at any given time.

Maddie and Andrew check the contents of box 46 - a zither made of a
reed stick with a gourd resonator, from the Fang people of Gabon and
part of General Pitt Rivers' Founding Collection (PRM 1884.113.14)

It is a shame that we do not have the space to exhibit more of these wonderful collections within the Museum itself. However, our online database is becoming increasingly populated with images and information and is a great way to explore some of the countless items you would not ordinarily get to see.