Last week our Documentation and Collections Management teams went on an away day to Oxford, to have a look at some of the storage at the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums in order to see if they have utilised any storage solutions that we can learn from for our own collections. We were givena tour of the Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art at the Ashmolean Museum, which opened in 2009 after extensive redevelopment. Their study centre allows visitors and researchers access to the collections, which are housed in very impressive and shiny storage areas. We were all quite jealous of their honeycomb-shaped scroll cabinet and shiny sliding racks for housing panels!
In contrast, the stores at the Pitt Rivers are older and more along the make-do-and-mend lines that I’m used to from the small museums in which I’ve worked. But it was still all of excellent quality, and they had very clever padded mounts for textile samples that were very much coveted by our team.
After our tours, we had some time to explore each museums, as well as the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which was obviously the highlight of my day! I will need to make another trip to Oxford sometime this summer, though, because we only had time to see little snippets of each museum, and they were all wonderful. Here are a few of my highlights: