Ray Gurney has almost finished stripping and detailing the outside of the case and will soon be ready to apply the new paint finish. Meantime, work on the crocodiles themselves has been completed by our Conservation team.
A few weeks ago, we decided to remove the sand that had been coating the base of the interior of the case. That was the easy part, then we had to decide what to replace it with. There were two options, the board base, probably added in the 1980s to stop the sand falling through the cracks or risk taking up the board to see what the original base looked like.
Obviously we were curious and chose the second option, and the original base did not disapoint! Wide planks of painted wood with a few chips and scuffs and some very intersting fade marks from previous labels. Ray is currently repairing some minor cracks to the boards ( though there was some discussion about how intrusive this work could/ should be). Apart from this, we will not do more than wash this surface, leaving the original painted surface ready to take back the crocs very soon.
The last part of the restoration project has also started -- adding new labels and interpretation to the case. Part of this will be an interactive touch screen, featuring some of the wonderful information we have found during this somewhat-more -lengthy-than-we-might-have-hoped-for process!
Recently added to the project is a major undertaking to move the case for the first time in probably 30 years. This will involve a team of specialist movers and some very nervous archives and conservation staff as the case is rotated and moved across the 2nd floor to a new position near our children's area, Kidspace. I will post more on this as it happens.