With only a couple of weeks until we are officially relocated, the staff are busy preparing for the transition to our new home. The store rooms and display areas are emptying fast with most boxes now stacked on pallets and ready to move. The most notable difference is seen in our archives with hundreds of boxes being stacked high, ready to be loaded onto trucks.
The dismantling and reassembling of shelves is also taking place to ensure that our objects and archives are stored suitably in the new Museum. A few of our cases will not be coming with us but they have found new homes with other museums such as the Household Cavalry Museum. We are sure they’ll get as much use out of them as we did!
In the hubbub of moving, we took some time out last Wednesday for our farewell meal. It was a momentous and sad occasion for the staff as we said goodbye to five of our members: Lt Col (Ret’d) John Edwards, Mr Brian Baxter, Mr Ian Fisher, Mr John Blaney and Mr Malcolm Heppolette. Many of them have served longstanding years with the Museum and have contributed in their own way to developing the Museum. Brian Baxter, the Technical Historian, had served 62 years with REME. 32 of these he spent in the Museum sharing his vast knowledge and expertise with staff and visitors. We look forward to seeing them again when the Museum reopens next year.
Last Thursday, 1st October, marked a significant moment for the Corps, as it was on the 1st October 1942 that the Corps was formed. Celebrating the Corps 73rd birthday in true style, we tucked into some chocolate cake while thinking about where we would be in the coming months. This time next year we hope to be welcoming visitors (if all goes to plan!).
Despite having to relinquish our computers and desks, the staff here are determined to work to the very last day. The Assistant Curator will be making a trip to London for an oral history interview before the move to ensure that this key story is captured and stored in the archives for future use. The Curator is organising various focus groups with REME trades. These discussions have proved incredibly useful and will influence a large part of the narrative for the new Museum. As well as this, the new website will be launched to coincide with the move so keep your eyes peeled for this new development!
It is an exciting time for the new Museum, a chance to reorganise our collection stores, redesign our displays and set new challenging targets for the year ahead. We are looking forward to stepping into our new home and charging forward in 2016.
Juliet Turk – Assistant Curator