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By Mark Green on

Goodbye to our summer exhibitions

Mark goes behind the scenes as our exhibitions Don McCullin: In England and Animalism are dismantled.

You would not believe how fast the exhibitions get dismantled. First thing Monday morning and barely awake, I stumbled bleary-eyed into Gallery Two—and found an army of museum staff already frantically swarming the Don McCullin: In England exhibition, carting off the framed photographs and removing captions.

One of the less thrilling jobs is peeling text off the walls. For Don McCullin: In England, we used vinyl stencils, which work much the same way as an old Letraset sheet. To remove them, you take Content Developer Anna Ward (pictured below), hand her a simple paint scraper, and watch the magic happen.

Meanwhile, Martyn Lenton and Colin Harding—who I’m more used to seeing quietly going about their studious curatorial business—rolled up their sleeves and revved up the electric drill for unscrewing the photographs from the walls. It’s a hypnotically quick business—and no sooner are the pictures free, they’re grabbed by the Collections team and wheeled off for de-framing and condition checking.

Before long—and it really was no more than an hour or so from start to finish—all that’s left is a hauntingly empty Gallery Two. And our poor friends still dutifully scraping letters of the alphabet off the walls.

Meanwhile, in Gallery One, we said goodbye to Animalism.

The absolute highlight of the four-month exhibition for me was the beautifully-lit wall of ape photographs from James Mollison’s ‘James and Other Apes’ series. Exhibition Organizers Sharon Scarmazzo and Ruth Haycock were in action to check the prints and package them back up into their very fetching crates.

Scraping the Don McCullin exhibition captions off the walls was painstaking stuff: Animalism has given the Exhibition Organisers some much more fun things to do. First, peeling off the big events banner outside Gallery One…

… second, running their hands all over the plush loveliness of the furry title lettering.

All this took place earlier in the week. Since then, I’ve tiptoed back into the galleries to have a peek at the building of the new Joanna Quinn and Neeta Madahar exhibitions—and it’s a real thrill watching them both take shape. Here’s a glimpse at the brand new banners…

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