And so it begins… Our Museum Journey (OMJ)

9 August 2023


We’re excited - some of us might say daunted - that ‘Our Museum’ Journey has begun, Poole Museum closure for major improvements to the building, its galleries, and exhibits. It is a major undertaking to transform the museum for the future.

It’s a partnership of staff, volunteers, contractors, all sorts of specialists - with the wider public sharing the journey with us.

What is OMJ?:

OMJ is also the name of a new blog to keep the local community updated with regular reports on our marathon. It’s a blog written by volunteers and captures a ‘behind the scenes’ story of the project through our eyes. We are equipped with our notebooks, cameras and phones and are looking forward to sharing what we see and experience.


“Hi, I’m Kit. Before retirement, I worked in public sector housing for around 25 years. I love history and volunteering, so I am fortunate that for the last six years I’ve been a Poole History Centre volunteer - transcribing hand-written old church documents into accessible online facsimiles, within Poole History Online.

More recently I’ve started to write articles and present talks on local history, the starting point often being transcribed documents.

Kit - Poole Museum Volunteer

Gavin has a general interest in history, including oral history. He has written a history of ‘Paine’s of Godalming’ and ‘Godalming Laundry’, both former industries located in that town. With an active interest in dinghy racing, he is now focusing on the history of Poole Harbour, through his connections with Poole Museum, Poole Maritime Trust and his local Lilliput Sailing Club. I’m looking forward to learning new skills as I assist in drawing together diverse forms of media to chart the adventures we will meet at each stage.”

Gavin - Poole Museum Volunteer

Decant Training for Volunteers:

Our first report is on the ‘decant’ training for volunteers, who will be assisting in carefully packing up and storing the Museum’s various precious items of archaeology, social history, fine art, ceramics - and more. It is not just the museum collection – every last thing has to be taken out of the buildings before building work commences!

Quite a challenge! Kit and Gavin.

Gary, Poole Museum’s Curator and his documentation assistant Joe led the sessions. Highlights included two games on handling and packing artefacts: ‘gloves or no gloves?’ and ‘how to make a tissue puff.’ There was a ‘show and tell’ of how to safely remove items from display cabinets and a ‘show and try’ exercise in cleaning, dusting and hoovering delicate exhibits. These photos show what was involved, with the reaction of one volunteer (Viv) captioning some images.

"Watching Gary making tissue puffs, holding the sheets, pinching in first one corner then the next - it reminded me a little of making water lilies with napkins - only with much larger, flimsier sheets! Then it was our turn. It was fun but mine was not necessarily fit for purpose. We’ll get better with practice.”

Demonstration on how to make tissue puffs for packing.

“Many of us held our breath as Gary picked up this delicate Romano British funeral urn. Would my hands be as steady, I wondered? It was reassuring to hear that Gary or Joe would always be nearby, if we lost our nerve.”

Romano British funeral urn

"No museum should be without a dinky vacuum cleaner, with adjustable-suction power, naturally! (Who knew?)"

Dinky vacuum cleaner

"Lifting and packing fragile items feels like quite a responsibility. But touching items that are hundreds, sometimes thousands of years old - it’s incredible. I love pottery, their tactile surfaces, the glazes, the inscriptions and designs. And we get to handle them and see them up close!”

Removal of Poole Pottery for packing