Hastings Old Town Hall Museum
Hastings Old Town Hall Museum in East Sussex built in 1823 provided an introduction to the rich heritage and history of the Old Town of Hastings. The building contained a wealth of significant exhibits, interactive models and reconstructions. When the Hastings Old Town Hall Museum permanently closed its doors on the 29th of March 2015, several historic items had to be relocated with extreme care. The items relocated included large figureheads from ships, carved chests, display cabinets, model trains, sail boats, paintings, guns and a large bell.
In 2015, Hastings Old Town Hall Museum had a requirement for the relocation of its historical items to Hastings Museum & Art Gallery and council’s storage facility as a decision was made to permanently closed its doors to the public on the 29th of March 2015. The project comprised of the safe removal, packing and transporting of the historical items with extreme care and precision.
We provided the client with a bespoke specialist packing and transport solution that would ensure maximum integrity of the historical items which had to be relocated to the Hastings Museum with additional items prepared for specialist storage. With years of expertise in the relocation industry and knowledge accumulated throughout the years we were able to gage the exact requirements required for the items to ensure that they were properly protected and packed for either storage or for reinstallation at the Hastings Museum. We were confident that we would complete the project within the allocated timeframe.
Our relocation solution for Hastings Old Town Hall Museum comprised of a two-day programme. We commissioned bespoke plywood cases for several of the items, and also factored time into the schedule for safely removing a large and heavy ship figurehead which was mounted at the top of a staircase. The ship’s figurehead was awkward to access due to its position, and we made the decision to install scaffolding as the safest option. This is to ensure that the figurehead would not be damaged during the removal process.
On the first day we deployed a supervisor and a team of fine art packers to carefully pack artefacts into their cases and transfer them to a holding area located on the ground floor, where they were loaded onto pallets. Scaffolding was erected and our team safely removed the large figurehead and brought it down where it was packed and then taken to the holding area.
On the second day a vehicle and driver reported to the site along with the day one team, and the goods were loaded onto the vehicle. We had initially planned to transport the small sailing ship models in shared cases for the short journey to the other museum. However, the destination for them changed to the storage site at the last moment. We decided that additional cases would be required to give them the appropriate level of protection for storage in the facility rather than in museum conditions. We commissioned the additional cases and were still able to complete the work within the planned timescale.
The team followed a labelling protocol to show which items were going to the council’s storage facility, and which were going to the other museum. The goods were delivered to their new locations and unloaded according to allocated plans. At the cleared museum site, the scaffolding was dismantled and removed.
- The decision to use scaffolding around the ship’s figurehead ensured safety for the team and the protection of the figurehead which was above a steep staircase.
- We implemented a label protocol to increase efficiency – each packed crate could be easily identified and sent to the correct destination.
- The project was completed within the agreed two day time frame, despite our having to erect scaffolding and commission extra cases to accommodate a last minute change to which items needed to go into storage.
Many of the exhibits that were moved can now be seen in the Hastings Museum & Art Gallery. Hastings Museum & Art Gallery contains a rich and exotic mixture of fine paintings and china, the cultures of other lands, well-known personalities such as John Logie Baird and Robert Tressell, and a contrasting view of local wildlife today and how it was 150 million years ago.
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