As Exhibition Officer, one of my main responsibilities is to manage the changeover of the museum’s exhibitions. This happens every four to six months, and is always one of the busiest times for the museum.
The latest changeover involved taking down Open For Business, and installing Parallel Tracks, a new work by artist Andrew Cross. This is the centrepiece of our Trainspotting season, and includes Andrew’s film Being There. The timeframe for exhibition changeovers can be as little as a week; this time we had just under three, but there was a lot to do.
The first job was to take down all of the works which had been hung for Open For Business. Normally we’d use a team of at least three freelance art technicians, but as only one was available I stepped in to the breach! Between us, art technician Joe and I took down the works, packed them carefully, then filled and sanded all the holes in the walls. The gallery looked very empty with nothing hanging in it.
Next the decorators set about repainting the walls. We had decided on three colours: white in the first area of the gallery, dark grey in the second area, and a feature wall of Monastral Blue, which is the rich turquoise used for British Rail vehicles in the 1970s.
Our builders had the task of extending the temporary wall in the centre of the Gallery, and installing a five-metre wide wall on which Andrew’s film would be projected. Our audio-visual team fitted a HD projector and all the kit needed to bring the film to life.
At the end of the second week the decorators were back to turn the new wall into a screen with special Pourascreen paint. Art technicians Andy and Rob then arrived to hang maps, photographs and notebooks of trainspotters past and present.
The final touches were added by the graphics team the next day. Up went the exhibition title, as well as a song list to accompany Andrew’s film. The museum team added a few finishing touches and we were finally finished, leaving the gallery looking very different to a fortnight before.
Parallel Tracks opened on 25 September, and seeing Andrew’s work has already has many visitors and staff mesmerised. The Exhibitions and Design team are now planning the next exhibition, Playing Trains, which opens on 20 March 2015.