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Time for some tricky choices

Work on a major redevelopment at a North Yorkshire museum has moved a step closer to completion, and it’s time to make some big decisions about how the collection is going to be displayed in the new museum.

Whilst building work is still being carried out at The Green Howards Museum in Richmond, museum staff (including Museum Assistant Amy Mitchell, pictured above) have been working behind the scenes to finalise which of the 35,000 objects in the collection will feature in the brand new displays. The transformation of the museum is being supported by a £974,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.

Visitors will have five brand new exhibition spaces to explore when the museum reopens later in the year.

The first will introduce visitors to the regiment, illustrating the unique qualities of the men who served as Green Howards. They will then move up through the museum via a brand new staircase, the galleries charting a regimental history spanning more than 300 years. New interactive displays will give visitors the opportunity to discover more about specific topics, such as frontline medicine, the army fighting from the air during the First World War, and the latest advances in equipment.

For the first time, museum visitors will be able to explore The Normanby Room. This is a unique space containing art, silverware and furniture belonging to the regiment.

“It’s a momentous task having to choose which objects from the collection will be on display when we re-open,” says Museum Director and Curator, Lynda Powell. “However, we are very lucky to have so many items with which to tell the story of the regiment, and our new flexible exhibition space will allow us to change what’s on show much more regularly than we have been able to in the past. Some objects have been chosen because they are unique or rare, such as a uniform from the Crimean War of the mid 1850s, others because they illustrate a particular event in history, such as a French banknote given by a French policeman to a Green Howards soldier as he evacuated from Dunkirk. Other items are displayed because they highlight the experiences of a particular individual, such as a bloodstained scarf used to bind a wound.”

Each object selected for inclusion in the new display spaces has been checked to ensure it is in good condition, measured, photographed and then repacked as it waits to be put on display.

Once all the objects have been selected, the next step will be to mock up each display case and create individual stands for the items on show. Finally, the objects will be brought out of storage and returned to the museum in readiness for reopening in early autumn.


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