• Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


  • Case Studies


The Wilson, Cheltenham's Art Gallery & Museum

  • THE WILSON
    CHELTENHAM'S ART GALLERY & MUSEUM

The Wilson, Cheltenham's Art Gallery & Museum

In 1898 the third Baron de Ferrieres, a former Mayor and MP for Cheltenham, gave 43 important paintings, mostly from Belgium and the Netherlands, to the town, together with £1000 towards the building of a gallery in which to house them. This opened in 1899 and in 1907 a Museum was opened next door to the Art Gallery in rooms formerly occupied by the Schools of Art and Science.

With the aid of various charities and Lottery funding the Art Gallery & Museum was awarded funds to re-design a new building and extended space for the Museums collections and to enable more items to be viewed by the public. A national RIBA competition in 2008 was won by Berman Guedes Stretton to provide 1250m² of additional gallery space and ancillary facilities, including dedicated education and outreach spaces, an open archive, cafe and shop. The extended site re-opened in [October 2013] as the Wilson, Cheltenham's art gallery & museum.

The Problem

Bruynzeel Storage Systems won the tender to supply all the The Wilson's storage and display requirements for the new Extension and worked closely with Metalico, a leading UK manufacturer of museum storage and display cabinets, to design the perfect solution for the display challenges posed by the Architect and the need of the Museum to open up their archives.

The principal brief was to create a display area that would enable the public to browse a variety of exhibits and be easy for staff to gain access to in order to change displays. Traditional cabinet-top display units employ tilting rear-hinged access, which is cumbersome to operate and also prevents cabinets being placed back-to-back or flush against walls.

The Solution

Around the walls, Metalico supplied large format bookcases over drawer units six drawer units with 1500 wide 175 kilo doors which could be opened without the bookcase overbalancing. These two metre high cabinets demonstrated Metalico's ability to design very large units capable of dealing with considerable weight loading.

In the centre of the room, Metalico provided six drawer cabinets with a large glass display area accessed from the front with one member of staff to operate it. This involved creating a translucent integrated seal within the front glass section, which when closed was fully sealed and invisible to the viewer. While this posed challenges in terms of weight-handling and dustproofing, Metalico's technical team believed this would provide the best experience for the Museum staff and the viewing public.

Creating three viewing-drawers - with LED lighting and secure Abloy locking glass tops - further enhanced the display versatility of the bookcases and cabinets.

The client required an automatic lighting system that only illuminated when the drawer was open and switched off when closed. This solved by designing a mechanical arm system connected to the drawer which activated a micro switch to control the on – off illumination. This reduced the potential for light degradation of valuable exhibits on display and was eco-friendly in terms of the Museum’s power consumption.

12 months on, has the solution delivered for the Museum and its visitors?

Metalico's cabinets have helped to provide access to archival material that would not otherwise be made available to the public. The space has been made more flexible, we are able to change displays more easily and bring collections together in ways that were not possible before.

The Paper Store houses changing displays from the The Wilson's fascinating collection of archival items relating to Edward Wilson and the Wilson Family Collection, the Emery Walker Library, Cheltenham history, the Arts and Crafts Archive and more. Visitors and researchers especially enjoy opening the drawers to explore our collections.

By providing a cleverly designed display solution, Bruynzeel and Metalico have helped us to achieve our ambition of creating a multifunctional space providing opportunity for research, display and storage in the form of an open archive gallery.

Caroline Willatt
Collections Team Leader