Thursday, 18 February 2016

Meccano display, reborn

One of the major 2016 exhibit improvements that we've been working on for the 25th anniversary is a complete overhaul and upgrade of our main Meccano display area, which we've now finally finished (save the occasional last-minute tweak) in time for the visitors who will be coming to Brighton for ModelWorld 2016.

This is a refit that we've been itching to do for the last seven or so years, as we've been progressively collecting more and more Meccano Ltd.-related rarities that couldn't be fitted into the existing display.  

Some Meccano rarities

The "original" version of the display with its crane centrepiece was was one of the museum's core attractions, and was originally assembled in a bit of a hurry, after which the difficulty of moving the monster crane meant that it was difficult to revise the display without essentially ripping everything out and starting again – a rather intimidating prospect. The new glass shelves mean that the space now holds a much larger number of items than it used to, and while the huge "Outfit No. 10" Meccano Giant Block-Setting Crane is still the centrepiece, the display now holds a far wider range of Meccano and Meccano-related pieces, including some extremely rare and desirable items that we've had in storage for a while, such as the Meccano Ltd Sawbench and Butter Churn
Meccano Ltd. made things other than Meccano

As well as standard Meccano and the Meccano Aeroplane Constructor sets and aircraft, the right-hand side of the revamped display now also includes a No.1 Meccano Motor Car Constructor set and the company's clockwork model Two-Seater Sports Car, more construction sets including examples of the short-lived British Model Builder / X Series sets, and some of the very rarest and hard-to-find parts. The left-hand part now has space to include examples of auxiliary Meccano Ltd. product ranges such as the Kemex chemistry sets, Dinky Builder, and Elektrikit and Elektron electrical outfits.

While there's no longer much that the company made that isn't represented in the display or elsewhere in the museum (we even have a solitary vanishingly-rare pre-Meccano ~1902 Frank Hornby Mechanics Made Easy pulleywheel), if anything else exceptional and Meccano-related does come our way, we probably now have the space to show it.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Dollhouse Furniture display stands

Preparation work for our new dollhouse furniture display for Arch 2 continues...

We now have the two side-stands completed and in position in the alcove. Work still to be done includes kitting out the individual rooms with flooring and backdrops, completing renovation work on the Gottschalk dollhouse that will be standing between them, deciding on the auxiliary exhibit material for the display, and then ... finally ... getting our C19th/C20th dollhouse furniture out of storage, sorting it, and then deciding which pieces are going to get to go on display.

Since the rooms and their backdrops are modular and interchangeable, the tentative plan is that if it turns out that we still have too much important material to display at once, we may be able to rotate individual rooms on and off display. We'll see how it goes.