AIM Conservation Grants: A report from Keswick Museum

AIM members from small and medium size museums are eligible to apply to the AIM Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme and the AIM Conservation Grant Scheme. Both schemes are generously supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the next round of applications closes on September 30th 2015.

Since these grant schemes started, hundreds of AIM member museums and heritage sites have benefited, and both schemes have been set up to help develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections. To check your eligibility and for further information, please see the AIM website: AIM Grant Schemes

We like to showcase previous examples of successful applicants so that anyone thinking of applying can see the type of conservation work that AIM has previously funded. The following is a report from Sue Mackay, the Curator at Keswick Museum & Art Gallery in Cumbria, on how an AIM Conservation Grant of £5,000 helped the restoration of a key landscape exhibit.


Keswick Museum & Art Gallery (Photo credit: ITV News)

Flintoft’s Model of the Lake District

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, Cumbria

AIM Conservation Grant of £5000

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery opened in 1898 in a beautiful Arts & Crafts building with stunning views out to the northern fells. Following a recent £2.1m extension, refurbishment and redisplay the building now offers a fully accessible visitor attraction. The museum cares for and shares the heritage and arts of Keswick and its surrounding parishes.

The recent re-design of the museum required one of our key landscape exhibits to be removed, stabilised, re-mounted and re-displayed. Some of this work was covered in the HLF project funds but the remainder was made possible by an AIM Conservation Grant. The exhibit is a large relief model of the Lake District. It was made from plaster in 1834 (before the first official Ordnance Survey of Cumbria) by local man, Joseph Flintoft.

The model had to been removed and replaced through a large window opening by a specialist long-arm crane once a frame had been built to support it. This was done by a marine engineering company – MPM from Maryport – who also transported and stored the model.

Moving Flintoft’s model of the Lake District – teamwork!

Conservation work to the plaster work, painted surfaces and the frame were undertaken by Brian Cardy, paintings conservator from Lancashire. The model was originally to have been displayed horizontally below floor level but changes to museum design plans meant that it is now displayed vertically on the wall.

We are delighted with the outcome of the conservation work which has allowed us to include this important part of Keswick’s heritage in our newly refurbished museum to best effect for all. Visitors delight once again in locating their favourite Lake District haunts! The model has also been included in the recent exhibition by University of Nottingham sponsored by Ordnance Survey which looked at the history of maps and models of Lakeland.

The model after restoration

Report by:

Sue Mackay





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