It’s been a busy week taking down the ‘Skeletons: Our Buried Bones’ exhibition at Leeds City Museum. As the museum closed on 7 January we said goodbye to our final visitors to the last leg of the exhibition tour, developed in partnership with Wellcome Collection and the Museum of London.
On Monday we had to start packing up the exhibition ready for the next show in February. It’s a real team effort to change over the space and involves many different people. Jelena Bekvalac (osteoarchaeologist) and Rebecca Lang (conservator) came up from the Museum of London to help pack away the skeletons and to check on their condition. Skeletons have to be packed away very carefully into their storage boxes. Each bone is checked and then they are put into clearly labelled bags by bone type.
Some conservation had been carried out prior to the exhibition to strengthen some of the skeletons for display. This work could include securing teeth into a skull or reattaching a damaged bone, but all of this work is reversible. Now that the skeletons are going back into storage or being used for teaching and handling, it can be safer to undo these joins so the bones are less vulnerable. Rebecca spent her time earlier this week reversing some of this work which can be a slow, meticulous process.
Museum technicians have been wrapping up the light-boxes and empty cases for transport and building the new cases for the next exhibition. We have been packing up our objects, taking down the graphics and interactives, and returning loans. Next the objects and skeletons from the Leeds collection will be returned to Leeds Discovery Centre where they will be checked by our conservator.
The Special Exhibitions gallery will be painted and new cases and structures built to await the arrival of objects for the next exhibition: ‘Thomas Chippendale, 1718-1779: a celebration of British craftsmanship & design’, opening on the 9th Feb.
By Katherine Baxter, Curator of Archaeology
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