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Collection Conservation Culture Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage The team

The moving project signing out

The moving project has come to an end. The project is closing down for now, having successfully emptied the Natural History building on Musèplassen 3.

The Natural History Museum of Bergen.
The Natural History Museum of Bergen.

The endeavor has taken more than three years to complete and included many different challenges, but they have all been met by the team of conservators in good spirit.

To recapture some big moments in the process, we have found a few old pictures.

stones being moved by crane.
Stones being moved by crane.
Stones strapped to pallets before the crane ride.
Stones strapped to pallets before the crane ride.

We have moved large building stones. It was a complicated move in terms of hardware. Several trucks and a crane were needed in the process. Revisit the stones here  and watch the moving video here and see the hidden treasures we found here.

Polar beer is maneuvered in place in the new storage.
Polar beer is maneuvered in place in the new storage.

In November 2013 we had the grand opening of the new central storage, read the post again here, and we emptied the first room in the exhibitions, revisit the post here.

Yet again we move by crane.
Yet again we move by crane.
Moose going into industrial freezing facility.
Moose going into industrial freezing facility.

From here on the tempo picked up and birds, mammals and fish went out the building in their boxes and on pallets. Some taxidermied animals proved difficult, but happily we borrowed a crane yet again. See the posts and the videos again in massive move part one and massive part two.

Auripigment or orpiment is a mineral with stunning colors, however, also toxic. It can be ground down and was used as a pigment for painting, but is no longer in use today.
Auripigment or orpiment is a mineral with stunning colors, however, also toxic. It can be ground down and was used as a pigment for painting, but is no longer in use today.

This year the moving project hit rock bottom, when we repacked, digitalized and moved large quantities of geological samples and paleontological objects in all sizes from the basement of the museum.  Read the post again here.

Here the minerals are neatly packed and ready to move to new storage.
Here the minerals are neatly packed and ready to move to new storage.

Want to see more pictures? The University of Bergen has an Instagram account called Unibergen. Furthermore, you can see pictures from Instagram related to the moving project on flickr, click here to see.

However, the moving isn’t over. Although the Natural History Museum is all but empty, the cultural history collections have only in small parts been organized and moved to new storage. This task will be carried out by the permanent staff of conservators in the future.

Furthermore, since the first steps towards rehabilitating the Natural History Museum is in progress and the construction of new exhibitions on the way, many of the objects will soon need to be conserved and moved back in. Hopefully the museum will once again open its doors in 2019.

For now the conservation team says goodbye, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

The conservation section wishing merry christmas.
The conservation section wishing merry christmas.
Categories
Collection Culture Moving Preventive conservation Storage

Working against time

This month, the moving project started moving cultural history objects from old storage rooms with very bad climate, as mentioned in the previous post (click here). The cultural objects are a part of Norway’s history with selections of “ølboller” and “mangletrær” unique to this region, amongst other things.

Gang3 mugg

The climate has a relative humidity of more than 60% most days, making mold and insects a big issue. The plan is to move as many objects out as possible before the wood beetle’s life cycle reaches spring and they fly off, spreading to other parts of the museum. Therefore, during the last few weeks we have been packing with little space to work on and against time.

Mold and holes from insects all in one object.
Mold and holes from insects all in one object.
Insect damage making the object very fragile.
Insect damage making the object very fragile.

 

Vacuuming in at small space.
Vacuuming in at small space.

 

Vacuuming after clearing out some space.
Vacuuming after clearing out some space.

 

Categories
Collection Conservation Culture Preventive conservation

October update and other things than moving….

The moving project is very busy and will be even more so when the Natural History Museum closes the 1th of November. When the museum closes for renovation we have to move all the objects out so the builders can get in. November and December will be a busy time, but even though we are busy, we still have to find time for other things than moving.

The last few weeks the whole conservation department has been hard at work in the Culture History Museum cleaning the exhibits.

Vacuuming can a delicate job.
Vacuuming can be a delicate job.

Cleaning exhibits is a very demanding job, since you have to clean all the glass (next time you go to a museum notice just how much glass there is!). The glass of cause has to be cleaned on both sides as well, which takes a lot of time.

Stine i montre
Conservator on display.

We have to move all the objects out of the display cases to clean the glass and the objects and then they all have to be moved back in their display cases again. Cleaning glass, de-dusting, vacuuming, cleaning objects and polishing, all in a day’s work for a conservator!

Ut av montre
Objects moved out of display case.
Categories
Conservation Culture Other

Medal memory

IronCrossFront
The Iron Cross after conservation

Finally our medals are conserved and analyzed. One cross is the Iron Cross and the other the Spanish Cross.

The Iron Cross originates in 13th century Kingdom of Jerusalem, when the Teutonic Order was granted the right to combine their Black Cross with the silver Cross of Jerusalem. As a military decoration the Iron Cross have existed since the Kingdom of Prussia and the Napoleonic Wars, but have been recommissioned during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II. When found it was impossible for us to determine which period this medal was from because of the heavy corrosion.

IronCrossXray
The Iron Cross under X-Ray where swastika and 1939 can be more clearly viewed

After the conservation it’s clear that our Iron Cross is from World War II – because of the swastika and the year 1939. The World War II Iron Cross was instituted by Hitler on September 1st, 1939, and awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions in a battlefield environment.

The other cross took us more effort to recognize, but eventually it was discovered to be the Spanish Cross. The Spanish Cross was instituted on April 14th, 1939, to recognize the German Forces who served in the Spanish Civil War (July 1936 – March 1939). The Spanish Cross was awarded in three classes, Bronze, Silver and Gold (there was also a special grade of Gold with Diamonds).  The bronzed and silver class came in two categories, with swords (combatant) and without swords (non-combatant). The Gold was awarded only with swords.

SpanishCrossFront
The Spanish Cross after conservation

We were hoping that the Spanish Cross would turn out to be the silver version, since it is very rare and only rewarded to 327 people during the civil war. Actually, it was rewarded to a couple of military personal who were later was stationed at the command in Bergenhus and killed there during a bombing in 1944. After closer analysis it turned out to be made of a cobber alloy and thereby proven to be the bronzed version. The bronze without swords was given for “3 months of service in Spain” and awarded to 7.869 individuals – the most common of the Spanish Crosses – and ours is even missing the “swastika-button” in the middle.

SpanishCrossXray
The Spanish Cross under X-ray where the hole for the missing “swastika-button” can be viewed.
Categories
Collection Culture Moving

What stones are we moving?!

The last two weeks have been dedicated to a special moving project. The task is to move building stones in all shapes and sizes (from the size of a hand to stones of 300-400 kg) from a storage room within a protected building to a new storage location. The stones are being moved because the building they’re currently stored in is due for restoration as mentioned in our Easter post.

Some of the stones are from a royal chapel located at the King’s Yard at present day’s Bergenhus in Bergen. The church, called ’Apostelkirken’ (Apostle’s church), no longer exists. It was built at the end of the 13th century and consecrated in 1302 in the gothic period of medieval times. The church was built by King Magnus the Law Mender of Norway, because he received a very special gift from the King of France in 1275: A thorn of the Thorn Crown of Christ. Such a valuable relic had to be placed somewhere special as well.

La Saint Chapelle, Paris
La Saint Chapelle, Paris

It has been suggested that the ‘Apostle’s church’ was built as a replica of Saint Chapelle in Paris (featured on the picture above), a church built for the Thorn Crown of Christ. The church in Bergen had statues of the 12 apostles placed along the outside walls between the outer columns. During Lent the 12 apostles were draped in clothes with bells attached that jingled in the wind or that’s how the story goes.

Bergenhus
Bergenhus

One can visit the site at Bergenhus, where the church used to be. Some of the stones are on exhibit close by at ‘Rosenkrantztårnet’. Click here to visit Bergen City Museum’s website for more information on the Rosenkrantz tower.

 

 

Categories
Collection Culture

Say what?

We have, for now, left the chests behind and started working on the rural collection. This collection turned out to be an unexpected challenge. The first challenge that arose was: “Do you see a museum number on this one?” “Hmm, no I can’t find one either”. It turned out that most of the objects had no museum number on them and without a number you can’t register them or find them in any database. We then thought that maybe if we looked up the objects name we might be able to find them and that brought about the next challenge. What on earth is the name of this object and what was it used for? Turns out it was rather difficult to name most of the objects or even say what they were used for.

Let me show some examples. The object in the picture is made of wood and has moveable blocks that is stuck to the top with strings but what is it?

 

Apparently it was a rat trap! The woodblocks were lifted, food put in, and when the rat went in to eat the blocks would fall and kill the rat.

The object under is made of wood and has a pointy metal tip. In the other end the wood is hollowed out and there’s a hole. It also normally comes with a lid to close it with but it was missing here. Any guesses what it is?

It’s a “budstikke” which resembles the function of the fiery cross in England. It was in the shape of an arrow and people put messages in the hollow end closed the lid and then delivered it to the recipient. If the recipient was not home the sharp tip was used to place it in the doorframe like in the picture under.

The many curious objects like this made it rather difficult to name objects and some of the names we found meant nothing to us and were almost impossible to pronounce like «nykjestyng» and “spjutedregg”!

 

Categories
Collection Culture

Treasure hunt

The last couple of weeks we have been hard at work photographing, cleaning, registering and packing a large amount of chests in all colors and sizes. The work has sometimes resembled a little treasure hunt since some of the chests have revealed exciting details. The pictures below illustrate some of the things we have found.

Beautifully made lock

When we opened this chest from around 1780 we found this beautiful and intricate lock mechanism. The chest belonged to the smith and clockmakers guild in Bergen.

Letters used as lining

These letters were discovered inside a leather trunk from the 18th hundred. The letters were send to a Hans Hvid and Clara Wold and then reused as lining for the trunk. The lining also consisted of reused newspaper and book pages that were glued to the inside of the trunk.

Collection of lacqure seals

In this chest we found a large collection of lacqure seals that nobody knew the museum owned. The collection was carefully organized and recorded i five books that were also found in the chest.

 

Categories
Collection Culture

“Key-Boards”

Some of the first objects that are being moved to the new central storage are a number of chests. The chests vary in size and shape from little manageable handy ones to huge 300+ kg ones. Many of the chests have at least one lock and many of the bigger ones have several locks and therefor several corresponding keys. What we have discovered, is that some of the chests are locked and we cannot open them to clean them inside or to check if there is anything in them.

 

The tricky part came when (to our horror) we found that many of the keys have not been kept with the corresponding chests. Some of the keys have been removed from their chest and put together in one huge stack or lost at some point in their lives. Yesterday we moved the great stack of different keys to the conservation department and started looking through them to try and find any numbering or identification on the keys that would enable us to match them to their corresponding chest. Some of the keys are numbered and have tags, some have unreadable old tags attached, some of them have numbers written on them and some have no identification at all. We found out pretty fast that many of the keys aren’t for chests at all, but for cupboards, drawers and even for doors!

It would be too much work to take out every chest from storage and try all the keys now. Instead we have arranged all the keys in different groups, so they are easy to find, when we start cleaning and packing the chests. When we start working on a chest without a key we’ll go to the board with keys and check if there’s one matching the chest. Hopefully we’ll be able to match some of the keys and chests and maybe we can open some of the chests that have been locked for many years. Nobody knows what the locked chests contain or if they contain anything at all. It will surely be a very exciting key bingo if we manage to unlock any chests and we’ll be sure to make a new blog post about it so keep following!

Categories
Conservation Culture Nature Storage

How to XRF

This week the conservation department got a handheld X-ray fluorescence analyzer. The XRF NITON XL3t GOLDD+ pistol is to be used for material identification, a nondestructive way of examining metals, heavy metals and plastic components in the materials we will be working with. In the moving project we will investigate the usage of the XRF in testing highly poisonous metallic elements. The XRF unit can also be used to examine alloys and the chemical components in beads, color in textiles and pigments, which gives it a wide range of usage possibilities in the future.

Arne K. Bjerklund from Holger Teknologi introduced the XRF NITON XL3t GOLDD+ and gave a demonstration of the handheld pistol. Later he worked with the conservators, teaching us to use the unit and read the output. We got the new upgraded model with lower detection limits, detecting cadmium in plastics and very light components like chlorides and magnesium. We are all excited about the possibilities this new equipment will provide.