The Museum is currently undergoing an audit of its entire collection. This involves unpacking, recording, photographing and repacking all objects in the Museum’s collection. In 2017, the REME Museum relocated to Lyneham. To ensure their safety, each object was packed for transportation; this involved large amounts of specialist acid-free tissue paper. Now that the Museum has established itself in Lyneham, it is a good opportunity to check over each object in the collection.

A room filled with many boxes waiting to be processed

Object storage before processing.

Before beginning the audit, each room in the Museum’s stores needed to be prepared. The walls, windows, shelving and other surfaces were carefully cleaned. Just warm water and a cloth was required as cleaning products can leave behind residual chemicals that could affect the collection. Staff at the Museum have been preparing new chipboard shelves by using a specialist varnish to coat them and provide a suitable home for the objects. Now that the stores are ready, where to start?

Boxed objects wrapped in plastic before being processed

Boxed objects before processing.

The Museum’s collections are typically categorised into themes. Beginning with models, each box has been carefully unpacked, materials such as acid-free tissue paper can be reused later. Each object has been recorded using its unique number, description, dimensions, condition and new location. Objects are photographed as a visual record, this is a helpful reference to identify the object and observe any change to its condition over time. Items are repackaged and assigned a new home in the stores.

This process can take time and attention to detail. Now that the audit is well under way cataloguing can begin. The most recent information for each object has been temporarily recorded in a spreadsheet. Existing and updated information is currently being logged in the museum’s new cataloguing system. The final result allows the museum to store, locate, monitor and preserve objects effectively in their new home.

A variety of scale model vehicles properly packed in a box

Properly packed objects.

Boxes on shelves in the collections storage room after being processed.

Collections storage room after processing.