Museum on the move

Moving a gun into the Imperial Institute in 1924

Moving a gun into the Imperial Institute in 1924. 275 loads of exhibits weighing approximately 800 tons were moved during this period, with only three instances of minor damage to objects reported.  IWM (Q 36932)

Museum objects are seldom static – displays, exhibitions and research material move around all the time.   Transforming IWM London is just the latest in a long series of major moves, from the move to Crystal Palace in 1920, to the opening of AirSpace at IWM Duxford in 2006.

Here are a few images from the Imperial War Museum’s 1924 move from Crystal Palace to the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.  In stark contrast with today’s moves there is not a high visibility vest, hard hat or hashtag in sight.

A steam tractor with the mounting of a 6 inch naval gun and a French Renault tank on its trailers during the move to South Kensington. (Q 036912)

A steam tractor during the move to South Kensington. IWM (Q 36912)

Above is a picture of a steam tractor with the mounting of a 6 inch naval gun and a French Renault tank on its trailers during the move to South Kensington. The move was not welcomed by one Kensington resident, who wrote to complain about his street being ‘completely ruined by all the heavy traffic of guns, lorries and tractors.’

Remounting picture displays in South Kensington

Remounting picture displays in the Museum’s new accommodation.  IWM (Q 36914)

Only 900 paintings were on display in the Museum’s new accommodation at the Imperial Institute, with the rest kept in storage. ‘Gassed’, which can be seen in the background, was moved again in late 1925 to the Royal Academy for the Sargent Memorial Exhibition, being returned later in 1926.

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