In our last blog entry we spoke about our ongoing store redevelopment. Back in Fraserburgh our new mezzanine had just been built and the store was practically empty! Since then our collection items have returned and the store is filling up again!
We have had a little help along the way.
The Princes Trust were a great help to the museum, as well as painting our exterior minor light they helped the Collections Manager put up the new shelfing and move some of the items back on to the shelves.
We were extremely grateful to the Northern Lighthouse Board for coming up from Edinburgh (and down from North Ronaldsay!) to help us undertake this mammoth task.
Mike Bullock CEO of the Board led the band of volunteers undertaking a great deal of work. Items would be moved around so some helped record a change of locations, while another half of the team helped with the return of our most precious items…the lenses! It is sadly the case that they have been boxed up for a number of years, so on their return 0 just as when they left – they were checked for damage.
They may not look like much in their boxes, but the museum still holds three major lenses in storage! Butt of Lewis (hyper-radiant), Buchan-Ness (hyper-radiant/first order) and the famous Monach (1st Order)!
Above: Butt of Lewis lens assembly…currently disassembled.
Above: Buchan Ness lens – currently in storage in 34 boxes in the museum.
Since the visit of the NLB we have erected the rest of the shelving and put our items in their new places. Some of the items have been lifted up to our band new mezzanine which has increased our floor space dramatically.
As you can see we still have a fair bit to go. The Butt of Lewis lens, which has no box, is taking up a great deal of space and as of yet our storage solution has not materialised.
We also found a lens or two which had been lost in our backlog! This handsome lens was found in three different areas of the store, but we have now assembled it for display. Although we were unsure of where it came from the NLB and Museum staff think that we have sussed it between us! Interestingly enough the lens has been with the Museum since 1996, but was only formally entered into the collection in 2016!
The next stage in the store re-development will be to make it a controlled environment to ensure that the museum is caring for our industrial lighthouse heritage under the best possible conditions. We are taking the opportunity to have the entire store treated for woodworm as a precautionary measure, and will be installing a system of dehumidifiers and data loggers.
We are also now in a position where we can tackle the backlog issue in the store head on. Many items still need to be accessioned, and now re-catalogued which is the next step in this long project!