The Wiltshire Museum is creating a new Special Exhibition gallery that will be suitable to take exhibitions from National Museums. The new gallery will open in November this year and will be the only UK venue for the international tour of 'Winds of War' exhibition – an exhibition of US WWI propaganda posters and prints from the San Antonio Public Library which is on a two year tour of Europe.
The new Special Exhibition Gallery will be alongside the current Art Gallery in the space that is currently the Recent History Gallery. Full height boards will be installed so that art work can be easily hung, new lighting will be installed and new high security cases will be ordered. The new space will meet the requirements of the Government Indemnity Scheme which means we can borrow objects from National Museums, including the British Museum. Our new funding as an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation will allow us to employ an Exhibitions Officer to develop an exciting programme and we will be working with our Wessex Museums Partners to bring high quality special exhibitions to the Devizes. The work of creating the Gallery is being funded by the Ready to Borrow Scheme, run by the South West Museum Development Programme and the Arts Council and by a donation in memory of Richard Oexmann.
The work will begin this month with the cleaning and packing of collections from the current Recent History Gallery. This provides an opportunity over the summer for visitors to talk to the team undertaking the work and to see some of the objects close-up as they are moved. Many of the objects will now feature in the Story of Devizes galleries, including old favourites such as items from the schoolroom, the Slopers sign and the Cunnington telephone.
We are aiming to complete the move and packing of objects by the end of the summer holidays so that the building work can begin. We will be highlighting the story of objects in the gallery and the work that lies behind the project in stories on Facebook so that people can keep in touch with progress.