New exhibition highlights museum’s care for collections

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A new exhibition ‘Dundee Preserves: Caring for the City’s Collections’ opens at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum on Saturday June 10. For 150 years The McManus has collected, preserved, interpreted and displayed the City’s collection for the benefit of its visitors. As the museum celebrates its special 150th anniversary in 2017, this new show provides a glimpse into how curators and conservators care for, research, store, document and conserve the City’s collections, revealing the day to day activity that often takes place behind closed doors.

Over the last ten years, staff have worked hard to become a fully accredited museum service. This is a rigorous procedure, overseen by the national body Museums Galleries Scotland, which ensures that museums follow best practice with policies and procedures in place to cover all of their work. All objects deteriorate over time, but with robust procedures, some basic housekeeping and access to specialist expertise this exhibition demonstrates that it is possible to delay the inevitable.

The exhibits include a 2,000 year old Egyptian cartonnage and a small oil painting by Scottish artist William Kidd which showcase some of the valuable work that is being done to research and document items that were previously little known or whose significance had been lost over time. These sit alongside a magnificent Sturgeon, the largest caught on the River Tay. The huge fish is in need of some repair, underlining the importance of a sustained programme of collections care.  Other objects include framed prints and ceramics which are used to examine deterioration over time. Dundee Preserves also provides a rare opportunity to see oil paintings before and after conservation.

Sinclair Aitken, new Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee said

“Dundee Preserves provides a fascinating insight into the City’s collections and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at The McManus to ensure we have these marvellous objects that we can all enjoy and be proud of. It is heartening to know that the endeavour that is going on today is safeguarding collections that will last the test of time for future generations to enjoy.” 

Dundee Preserves: Caring for the City’s Collections opens on Saturday 10 June at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum and runs throughout 2017.

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