Ob­ser­va­tory Mu­seum ren­o­va­tions to start

Grocott's Mail - - ARTSLIFE - By LINDA DYANI

The Al­bany Mu­seum man­age­ment and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works met last week to of­fi­cially hand over keys to the build­ing con­trac­tor who will ren­o­vate the iconic Ob­ser­va­tory Mu­seum in Bathurst Street. The works are ex­pected to be com­pleted by Oc­to­ber.

The mu­seum held fes­tiv­i­ties dur­ing Her­itage month last year to mark the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the build­ing. The clo­sure co­in­cided with the ar­rival of new Mu­seum His- to­rian, Gco­bisa Zomele and Con­ser­va­tor, Anva Chi­azarri. Im­me­di­ately af­ter the of­fi­cial clo­sure the two women, with as­sis­tance of other staffers set about the mam­moth task of neatly pack­ing the col­lec­tion with 6,243 col­lectibles. “This has given me an in­sight about what the col­lec­tion is about which is quite use­ful," Zomele said. "We have up­graded and up­dated the sys­tem which will make it much eas­ier to track the col­lec­tion.”

Added Chi­azarri: “This is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to as­sess the con­di­tion of the col­lec­tion and take im­por­tant con­ser­va­tion mea­sures. This will help pre­serve this unique col­lec­tion and the his­tory of the Galpins and Gra­ham­stown. There are many 'one of a kind' items on dis­play that de­serve to be con­served and re­stored. The ren­o­va­tions will give us the time needed for the proper care of the col­lec­tion."

The Ob­ser­va­tory Mu­seum which ac­com­mo­dates the only Vic­to­rian cam­era ob­scura in the South­ern Hemi­sphere was orig­i­nally a shop and home of watch­maker and jew­eler, Henry Galpin, who lived in Gra­ham­stown be­tween 1850 and 1886. The rooms are filled with an­tique fur­ni­ture, bric-a-brac and var­i­ous sci­en­tific sur­prises. There is also a fas­ci­nat­ing merid­ian room on the top floor where Galpin worked out Gra­ham­stown time, re­set­ting the clock in the tur­ret each day. This mu­seum is ex­tremely pop­u­lar with tourists and has be­come an icon in Gra­ham­stown.

• Linda Dyani is the Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer at Al­bany Mu­seum

Photo: Linda Dyani

Ba­balwa Me­sani (left) and Levo­nia Mains as­sem­ble pack­ing boxes at the Ob­ser­va­tory Mu­seum.

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