Reopened museum flooded once again
EGHAM Museum flooded once again after a heavy downpour, just days after reopening following a refurbishment undertaken due to severe flooding last summer.
But the disruption has not deterred new curator Sarah Corn, who has used the crisis to create a new layout at the Literary Institute-based facility.
The museum had been closed for 10 months after rainwater poured through the roof of the building on August 26 last year and, following delayed repairs, reopened on Magna Carta Day – Saturday June 11.
But just a week later there was another flood in the same area where damage was previously sustained.
“The flooding was much less thankfully,” said Miss Corn. “On the Saturday volunteers came in that morning but didn’t notice anything at first.
“They then discovered there was water in one of the cabinets so they set about removing items from there.
“It was quick thinking from the volunteers and they did everything exactly right. We did have to close the museum on the day though and came back in on the Monday to reassess.”
But Miss Corn, who works at the museum for 18 hours a week and is a also a programme leader for museum development in the South East, said although they took the decision to permanently shift some of the display cases, the flooding would not deter them.
She added: “It was a good opportunity to update the layout of the museum so we had a bit of a shift around and it now follows a new approach to the history of Egham and Runnymede.
“We have display boards on order. I would like to develop the changes and work with volunteers and schools, and develop extra spin-offs on particular topics.”
The museum remains open, although Miss Corn, who took over from Dr Matthew Smith in April, said a longer-term solution is required.
“We would love a new site,” she said. “I think the flooding is one part of it though. This is firstly down to accessibility and we are hidden down the side and round the corner, and the site is completely inaccessible for people with disabilities.”
Once the display is updated and any more redecoration work is completed, there are several projects in the pipeline, including developing a Patrons Scheme, applying for project funding to develop family activities and carrying out consultations to identify the ongoing vision for the museum.
Investing in an electronic collections database is another key project and Miss Corn hopes to recruit some volunteers to help go through the museum collection in the attic, to assess the collection, make sure items are in order and in good condition.
“At the museum we are still paper-based and stuck in the 1970s, and we have to check a paper index and I would love it to be available to an internet audience,” she said.
“I’m not aware of many others that still have everything on card.
“I am looking at buying a piece of software and working with Surrey History Centre on it.”
The museum is seeking more volunteers, including stewards, collection team volunteers, exhibition team volunteers and a publicity officer. Visit www.eghammuseum.org/volunteer/ for further information.