In October 2010, Plowden & Smith embarked on one of their largest projects to date; the redevelopment of the National Museum Scotland. From approximately 8000 objects to go on display, Plowden & Smith were scheduled to produce mounts and install approximately 2700.
From October 2010 to March 2011, staff worked tirelessly measuring objects and producing mounts which were labelled and boxed ready for installation. A vast and diverse range of objects were involved; from Islamic tiles to meteorites, and Samurai swords to fibreglass fish. Encompassing minute to enormous, straightforward to complex, the team worked alongside conservators and curators to produce mounts of the highest quality for these valuable items.
For the duration of the time spent on-site, the team set up a full workshop with facilities for 6 staff to work in. This allowed the full range of mount-making processes to be carried out and staff were able to tackle any object thrown at them. The diversity of objects allowed the staff to devise a new mounting system for repeat hanging. A universal plate was produced which attached to the wall and mounts could then either be screwed into, or hung from this.
In April 2011 the installation of the mounts and objects into the showcases began.
The biggest challenge was the installation of Window on the World; a wall three floors high spanning the main gallery. This was a combination of showcases and open display and each type of object within the new Museum was represented. It was a complex procedure to install so many objects onto this framework, working at height to ensure that objects were fixed a set distance from the wall and were fully secure.
The project involved an enormous amount of administration and organisation both on-site and back at the Plowden & Smith office. A huge amount of people were involved in the process and at one stage or another, all of the Plowden & Smith staff were involved.
Despite the long hours and time spent away from home, the team thoroughly enjoyed themselves, aided of course by the Scottish whisky! The opening of the Museum was held in July and attracted over 2000 people, with 100,000 visitors attending the museum in six days.
Please visit the website and take a look at some of the videos showcasing the new galleries. Look out for Creating a new Museum which highlights the work involved by so many different individuals during the project.