Re­opened mu­seum flooded once again

Staines Informer - - NEWS -

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.

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