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Behind the scenes of the museum

29 July 2016

Behind the scenes of the museum

Museum of London

29 July – 15 September 2016

FREE display

From today, visitors to the Museum of London will be able to catch a glimpse of some of the work that goes on behind the scenes and see objects usually housed in our extensive stores. This display is part of a wider collections review and rationalisation project that the museum has been undertaking since 2014 and aims to make the museum's vast and varied social and working history collections more streamlined and easier to manage.

The review also provided the opportunity for the museum to enhance its knowledge of the extensive collections. The display includes a few of the project team’s favourite objects that were researched during the review process. Objects on show include:

Evening Standard offices, model, 1977

This detailed model is an accurate reconstruction of the Process Engraving department of the Evening Standard in 1977. Gifted to the Museum by the maker, it captures the atmosphere of a busy newspaper office at a pivotal moment in London’s printing industry. Within a few years such offices located around the Fleet Street area had closed as massive printing machines replaced an army of workers, requiring a move to larger premises outside the City area.

Ice cream making machine, 1911 and Ice cream moulds, c.1910

The maker’s label Frozo Specialities, together with our own research, has identified this object as an unusual hand crank domestic ice cream making machine. The moulds were used by the donor whilst working in domestic service in the 1920s. Displayed together, the moulds and the machine represent the huge popularity of homemade ice cream in London households in the early 20th century.

Confectioner’s icing stand, c.1900

This stand was made in Dresden by Müller & Hennig. Records reveal the stand was donated in 1971 and used from the early 20th century by a confectioner based in South Kensington. During the review, however, the museum discovered Müller & Hennig were primarily manufacturers of pastel crayons. It is, therefore, possible the stand was adapted by the confectioner from its original use as an artist’s stand.

Beverley Cook, Social and Working History Curator at the Museum of London, said: “Like most museums we can only display a fraction of our vast collections meaning lots of objects remain in our stores. Objects in storage continue to play a vital role in the museum, however, and are used regularly for teaching, academic research, loans to other museums and temporary exhibitions.”

Beverley continued: “During this exercise we’ve been able to stretch our thinking with regards to the collection and have learned so much that will help us manage our collections and how we acquire in the future. Moreover the project has also benefited other organisations through the transfer of duplicate and surplus items to other museums, universities or charities.”

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About The Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added.