June 2017

A slightly more unusual task came the way of the Conservation department recently, by way of a request for help and guidance to redisplay a nineteenth century Noah’s Ark and figures toy, made from wood and painted.

The display before removal to conservation

The Ark and figures, of which there were over 150, were on display in the Elizabethan House Museum in Great Yarmouth, and in the past the figures had been prevented from falling over by applying ‘Blu-tack’ to the undersides of their feet to keep them stable!

This is not a method of display support that we would use today, as the Blu-tack can release oils that would contaminate the museum object, and could cause permanent staining.

The Ark and figures had to be carefully packed and transported to the conservation lab, where each figure was carefully cleaned and checked, the Blu-tack removed, and any other conservation issues assessed and resolved.

A few figures had paint that was lifting away slightly from the figure, so that was carefully adhered back into place.

Blu-tack being removed from a figures feet

Once cleaned, checked and Blu-tack free, we had to come up with a system for supporting the figures by a different method, and so we have decided to stand each figure with one of it’s legs in a short section of clear archival plastic tube, which in turn are set into a sheet of plastazote foam that covers the whole display shelf.

An animal figure with supporting plastic tube

Some of the animal figures after cleaning and Blu-tack removal, awaiting return to their display case in Elizabethan House.

These figures have been a delight to work with in themselves, as with a bit of artistic licence they all have child friendly faces!

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