Brennan and Geraghty’s store curator Ken Brooks and volunteer Ailsa Head clear the shelves for the tedious job of cleaning.
Brennan and Geraghty’s store curator Ken Brooks and volunteer Ailsa Head clear the shelves for the tedious job of cleaning. Karleila Thomsen

Volunteers clean museum items

FOR THE first time in 20 years an entire wall of shelves at Brennan and Geraghty’s shop museum in Maryborough lies bare.

Every item has been removed so the shelves can be cleaned and lined with acid-free shelf paper.

Each piece is then dry-brushed with a soft bristle brush and replaced on the exact shelf from which it was removed.

The painstaking task is being completed by museum curator Ken Brooks and his dedicated team of volunteers.

“It’s pretty dramatic seeing nothing on the shelves,” Mr Brooks said.

“The entire collection is usually cleaned a couple of times a year but we usually do one shelf at a time.”

The award-winning museum usually closes for two weeks in February for maintenance and cleaning but this year it will be closed for the entire month.

After receiving Federal Government funding to re-paint the museum’s buildings and re-lay the external footpath, Mr Brooks decided the time was ripe to do some extra maintenance.

The collection of shop stock is in varying states of deterioration and needs extra care during the cleaning process.

Most of the stock is in cardboard boxes on the floor while the more delicate items are specially wrapped.

In the museum’s back room, shelves of glass bottles will be removed so builders can replace some nails in the original champferboards.

Mr Brooks said it would take several weeks to clean the whole collection but he expected to be ready for reopening on March 1.

“When we first opened as a museum in 1990, some of the experts said the collection would only last seven years because of the environment and because the building lets the weather in a bit,” Mr Brooks said.

“But with the works we’re doing we’re prolonging the life of the collection and keeping the items good as long as we can.”

Brennan and Geraghty’s store opened on Lennox Street in 1871 and traded until 1972.

The shop remained intact, with stock dating from the late 1800s and original ledgers and business documents still contained on the site.



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