Last Monday, the 2nd March, saw the beginning of the move of the collections in preparation for the building of the Museum's new Sammy Ofer Wing, which will include a new archive and library store.
The South West Wing store that we are emptying currently holds over 3000 shelves worth of material, tens of thousands of volumes, boxes and files of material that need to be carefully packed into crates, transported to the outstation and then unpacked in the correct order. As anyone who has ever moved home can imagine, this is a mammoth task, and the last few months have seen plenty of planning, spreadsheets and equations to work out what will fit where.
Perhaps the most laborious part of the job has been labelling each of the shelves in the order that they need to be packed - the vagaries of the storage system meaning that it is not as simple as starting at one end of the room and moving to the other! We are also trying to rationalise, as far as we can, the present system of storage, reuniting materials from collections that have become separated over the years - hopefully this will make the task of locating items easier in the future.
It is quite an eerie experience to stand in the store that we have used for so many years and see it gradually empty - but it certainly allows us to see the progress that we are making. It all appears to be going remarkably smoothly so far, with no surprises unearthed. I still have my fingers crossed that we are going to uncover those elusive Admiral Hornblower papers that we are meant to hold....Andrew (Curator of Manuscripts)