The museum may be closed but our team of volunteers have been busy today doing lots of different jobs around the site.
The Dakota Team continue to sort out the hangar to make working on the aircraft easier. The recently laid concrete floor has now been painted, primarily to keep dust levels down but this has had the added bonus of making it more aesthetically pleasing too!
Our maintenance team was busy in the kitchen store painting the floor and walls in preparation for new racking.
Our collections team was busy in the museum room putting away the display items for the Winter and worked continued in the archive to index and record more collection items.
This is a typical Saturday in the off season when lots and lots of work is done behind the scenes and today was a great example of the variety of jobs our dedicated volunteers undertake.
Behind the Scenes MAVC Winter 2021 Volunteer’s Blog
Saturday 6th November 2021
Twenty nine volunteers gathered to celebrate the teams' achievements at the end of the short open season at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre. The meeting started with cake, tea and coffee; a super spread food thanks to Chris and Beryl.
A fun ‘awards’ ceremony followed with everyone also being thanked for their commitment and dedication to the work done both onsite, welcoming visitors, as well as behind the scenes. As we were all in one place and face to face, the trustees wanted to gather feedback from everyone and we all shared our ideas for tweaking things for the visitor centre, visitors and volunteers as well as sharing some ‘big’ ideas for not just the next season but the next 10 years.
With so many new volunteers in one place, something that COVID19 has restricted, we finished the day with compiling a shared set of Values that we could all agree were ‘What we are’ and ‘What we do’ and ‘How we would do it’. After a passionate debate we whittled 120 suggestions down to a set of 5 values that we feel are at the heart of everything we do so going forward these will be our guiding principles. We'll endeavour to be.......
It was a great day which set the scene for the closed season’s behind the scenes activities and one which will help us develop our plans for the longer term.
Volunteers gather in The Peter Scoley Hall to celebrate our achievements in 2021 and to start planning for 2022.
Due to Lockdown#2 it is with great sadness that we have to announce that our onsite volunteer sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays are suspended with immediate effect. We'd like to say a big "thank you" to everyone who has joined us onsite over the last few months; we have achieved so much. Thanks to all the volunteer’s hard work and commitment the centre buildings have been refreshed and displays have been revamped. Furthermore, digitisation and cataloguing activities for the archives have also progressed well.
We all hope that Lockdown #2 is as short as possible and we look forward to welcoming all our volunteers back on site as soon as possible.
The museum may be closed, but work continues behind the scenes to manage our collection and explore new and innovative ways of providing public "access" during lockdown. Like many organisations, video conferencing technology has become central to our day to day operations. Meetings that would previously have been face to face have now been moved online.
With social distancing still in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, our Curator and Collections Manager took part in a recent Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM) workshop via Zoom. The workshop entitled “Delving Deeper: Reinterpreting Collections” covered, amongst other things, ways of making collections available to the public during lockdown whilst museums are closed. We all shared our ideas and learned new ones to help us manage our collections and explore new ways to share them with our audiences during these crazy times. Thanks to all those who attended for their great ideas.
You can follow all of the workshop participants via their Twitter pages:
Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre @RafMetheringham
Verity : @verity_smith89,
Sarah MDEM @MusDevEM,
The Old Rectory Loughborough @OldRectoryLboro
The Cottage Museum Woodall Spa @CottageMuseumWS,
Louth Museum @LouthMuseum
Desborough Hertitage Centre @DesboroughHeri1
Swannington Heritage Trust @HoughMill
Belper North Mill @belpermill
What a lovely, if windy, day for our volunteers at the centre this weekend. Preparations are now well underway for our new exhibition for 2020. We will be sharing previously unseen parts of our collection with visitors in our newly renovated Carey Powell museum room and we'll be able to tell more previously untold stories about those who flew with 106 squadron and from RAF Metheringham. Selecting the artefacts and stories to support this exhibition is really exciting as we search through our records and plan what to put where. We are always interested to hear from others doing the same at other heritage sites and museums; how are you preparing for the new season? What challenges do you face and how have you overcome them? It seems whatever we do, tea and biscuits are essential though. Happy curating.
It was the last curatorial session of the year (and the decade for that matter!) for our small team of volunteers on Saturday. We completed the last tasks for the the year, covering items to protect them during the coldest part of the season and clearing out a store ready for renovation early in the new year. Thank you to all the volunteers who have taken part in the activities at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre over this last year. Thank you to those who have spent their spare time with us including Stewards, the Dakota team, the researchers, digitisers, exhibition team, photographic team, web and social media team, catering volunteers, education and curatorial teams as well as all the FOMA’s trustees and patrons. Special thanks must go to all our visitors. The wonderful feedback you give us makes all our efforts worthwhile and we hope to see you again in 2020 when we will have some exciting new displays and events.
We are always looking for more volunteers to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. So if you have a few hours spare to spend with us each month in 2020 to help us preserve the memories of those who served at RAF Metheringham and in 106 Squadron, then please do contact us. As you can see some of us repaired to the recently re-opened Royal Oak in Martin for a well earned festive drink to finish the season. How appropriate that we should enjoy a Christmas tipple in the very pub frequented by so many 106 Squadron personnel in WW2. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year. See you in 2020.
The Centre is now closed to visitors but the work on conserving, planning and preparing for the next season continues. In fact, the Winter months are the busiest time for some of our volunteers as we can remove items from display for cleaning, preservation and restoration. Our band of dedicated volunteers meet each Saturday and this month our focus is on returning our displays to stores. This week we were conserving uniforms that have been on display and returning the smaller artefacts to storage.
On Saturday, Roger, Phil and Sam undressed the mannequins and prepared all the removed clothing items for freezing prior to cleaning ready for storage. Did you know that freezing items, especially clothing, is an important part of the conservation process? It kills of any insects and their larvae that might have taken up residence on the items whilst on display and ensures that they can't cause any damaged during Winter storage. Items are frozen for at least three weeks. We then carefully but thoroughly vacuum each item to remove dead bugs, larvae and droppings leaving our precious clothing clean and bug free before being stored.
The task at times was complicated due to the position the mannequins had been originally placed in but the team enjoyed the day especially as it was completed to plan. Christine and Kate started planning new display ideas, Linda continued the important work of photograph conservation and recording the metadata, whilst Sam, Rod, Sue and Caterina completed some of the backlog tasks we had planned. Our recent grant from Museums Development East Midlands (MDEM) of £500 is helping us to Banish the Backlog.
We are always looking for new volunteers especially those who would like to learn new skills such as caring for collections, are interested in researching the archived stories to support our new season’s displays and are keen to join our enthusiastic group. No prior experience is necessary and if you are interested then please contact us via the website and ask for the Curator, we look forward to hearing from you.
Working with other Museums: Colaborating With Cannock Chase Great War Interpretation Hut in Staffordshire
Collaboration between museums is rewarding as it benefits us all especially when we share expertise and resources. One such successful collaboration took place this year between Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre (MAVC) and the Great War Interpretation Hut, at Marquis Drive, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.
A chance conversation between Dave Dunham and Caterina Scott, both volunteer curators, during a trip organised by the Lincoln & North Lincolnshire Branch, Western Front Association, to the WW1 training area in Staffordshire on Cannock Chase, revealed that the hut’s WW1 display needed a mannequin that could be seated. MAVC had a spare mannequin who could sit and be manipulated. So, an arrangement was made for it to be collected by Dave Dunham of the Cannock Chase Great War Interpretation Hut.
The Sniper exhibition was opened in July at the Great War Interpretation Hut and “Arthur” the Great War British Sniper is now a permanent exhibit. The donation of the mannequin from MAVC is acknowledged in the hut and Dave Dunham sent a sent a message ‘Many thanks, once again, to all of you at the RAF Metheringham Airfield Museum for your kind donation of the mannequin to the Cannock Chase Great War Interpretation Hut’. It's great that the volunteer teams running small museums all over the UK can share ideas and assets to the benefit of all concerned especially our lovely visitors.
Visit www.staffspasttrack.org.uk hut to find out more.