The Redisplay of the Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum
History Curator at Northampton Museums and Art Gallery
Abington Park Museum is home to the museum of the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Last year, the museum had some light refurbishment undertaken. This included opening and repairing a number of previously blocked windows to improve the overall feel and lighting of the museum. However, although lovely for visitors, this was bad for the objects on display in the first case of the military galleries. The objects displayed in the case were a selection from the history of the Regiment and the Yeomanry and included a uniform, drums and a sash and colour belt. All of these items are light sensitive and faced damage due to the increased levels.
We therefore applied to AMOT (Army Museums Ogilby Trust) for a grant to change the display in order to improve the introduction to the galleries and change the objects on display to those less sensitive to light.
The idea was to produce a new display introducing the military galleries from the secondary entrance created in the refurbishment works. This included a new welcome panel, with a clear introduction (previously lost due to the creation of a secondary entrance). It also created an opportunity to display collections that had not recently been on display. The medal collection is large and varied but only a small section was on display. We are aware that our visitors missed the medal room that was once at Abington so we wanted to use the medal collection to chart the history of the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. As the medals are made from metal, they would not be sensitive to the light levels within this space. We also wanted to link the medals to their owners and tell the personal stories of the people who once wore them.
We appointed The Art Department as the designers for the project and together with input from the Northamptonshire Regiment Association, the Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association Benevolent Fund and the Western Front Association, we researched, designed and created an introductory case that featured a Welcome and Introduction panel, a Timeline of the Northamptonshire Regiment’s and the Northampton Yeomanry’s history highlighting key battles and places that the unit were stationed at different moments in time and five biographical panels providing snapshots into soldiers’ lives by telling their story of their military career accompanied by their images and medals. We also created a medal panel with large text to improve accessibility to the medals.
We are really pleased with the redisplay of the case. The Art Department worked well with us to ensure the costs kept to our budget and created aesthetically pleasing designs. They listened to the brief and produced work that was of a very high quality.
The case ties in with the rest of the galleries but is also modern and fresh, giving a flavour of the new military galleries to come as part of the Phase 2 part of the New Museum Development project. It gives a clear welcome to the visitor who arrives either from the main or secondary entrance, making it evident that they are entering the military galleries. The timeline gives a clear distinction of what the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry were doing throughout their history and the soldier’s biographies tell a personal story of the different ranks of soldiers within the army and connect the person back to their medals.
We would like to thank our partners:
Army Museums Ogilby Trust
The Art Department
The Northamptonshire Regiment Association
The Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association Benevolent Fund
The Western Front Association
Our Research Volunteers
The Families of the Soldiers
for all their help and input with the project.
We hope you enjoy the new display!
Visiting Hours and details of Abington Park Museum are:
Abington Park Museum
Park Avenue South
Telephone: 01604 838110
Fax: 01604 838720
April – October, Thursday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays: 1pm – 5pm
November – March, Thursday – Sunday: 12 noon – 4pm
Open Tuesday – Sunday during Northamptonshire school holidays.