Hello and welcome to a brand new feature – Littlehampton Museum’s Behind the Scenes blog. My name is Kathleen Lawther and I am currently Curator at Littlehampton Museum, covering a period of maternity leave. I have been here now for four months, getting stuck in to the workings of a small but busy museum. In this blog my colleagues and I will be sharing some behind the scenes glimpses into the work we do and the collections we care for. For this first instalment I’m going to introduce a project we are working on to improve the way we document and share our collections.
As with most museums, the objects and paintings we have on show in our permanent galleries and exhibitions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are almost 30,000 objects, artworks, photographs and documents in the collections, but only a tiny proportion of these are on display.
We can never exhibit everything that we hold, but we are working hard behind the scenes to make sure all the objects held in our stores are documented and photographed so we can make them accessible to the public in different ways. This might be through sharing photographs and information about the collections on the Museum’s website, by answering public enquiries about local history, or by sharing the most exciting and unusual objects in new temporary displays.
We’re also very excited to have been awarded funding from the South East Museums Development Programme to help us purchase a new display case for our archaeology gallery. Visitors who came to see our display featuring Iron Age mirrors on loan from the British Museum and National Museums Scotland at the beginning of this year may find that the middle of the gallery space looks a little empty without the fabulous mirrors taking centre stage. The new display case will soon be arriving to take up the same spot, and will feature our own star object, the Anglo-Saxon escutcheon (or hanging bowl mount) which recently featured in the British Museum’s blockbuster Celts exhibition, along with some surprises from the Museum’s collections which are currently in storage. It won’t be long until the new display arrives, but in the meantime, #WatchThisCase.