The continuing review of our massive reserve collection, presently one of the Museum’s top priorities, is not only enhancing preservation, but also improving storage and access.
A recent example is our collection of over 80 ‘Dead Man Pennies,’ the individual Memorial Plaques given to the next-of-kin of every serviceman killed in World War I. Although accessible, the collection, loosely stored, has awaited proper attention and sorting for many years, while other pressures took priority. Cataloguing the plaques for the Museum review provided Curator Garry Smith with the opportunity to arrange, for the first time, appropriate and alphabetically-listed storage, with greatly improved access, for a large part of the collection.
Thanks to the generous donation of a metal drawer cabinet by Dave Pennington of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Regimental shop, the plaques are now in easily accessible drawers, cushioned on special museum-quality inert preservation material. The cabinet also has a new home in the stores, where it can be better accessed by Museum staff and volunteers working on fully documenting the collection.
1) The size of the collection can be judged when laid out for sorting
2) The plaques as originally stored
3) A new drawer being prepared
4 & 5) The plaques as now displayed