An eight and a half foot long European Sea Sturgeon, the largest and last sturgeon to be caught on the River Tay, has gone back on display at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum as part of their Dundee Preserves Exhibition. The sturgeon was originally part of the show when it opened in June. Curators wanted visitors to see that it was in need of repair before expert work was undertaken to improve its condition. It has now had the necessary repairs carried out by a taxidermist and is back on display, underlining the importance of a sustained programme of collections care.
It was donated to the museum in 1888. It was kept in storage and suffered deterioration around the gills, head and body with large openings around the body. The sturgeon was then recently sent to the Isle of Bute to be conserved by Duncan Ferguson from Bute Taxidermy and transported back to the McManus where it has been put back on show.
For 150 years The McManus has collected, preserved, interpreted and displayed the City’s collection for the benefit of its visitors. As the museum celebrates its special 150th anniversary in 2017, Dundee Preserves provides a glimpse into how curators and conservators care for, research, store, document and conserve the City’s collections, revealing the day to day activity that often takes place behind closed doors.
Over the last ten years, staff have worked hard to become a fully accredited museum service. This is a rigorous procedure, overseen by the national body Museums Galleries Scotland, which ensures that museums follow best practice with policies and procedures in place to cover all of their work. All objects deteriorate over time, but with robust procedures, some basic housekeeping and access to specialist expertise this exhibition demonstrates that it is possible to delay the inevitable.
Sinclair Aitken, Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee said
“Dundee Preserves provides a fascinating insight into the City’s collections and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at The McManus to ensure we have these marvellous objects that we can all enjoy and be proud of. It is heartening to know that the endeavour that is going on today is safeguarding collections that will last the test of time for future generations to enjoy.”
Dundee Preserves: Caring for the City’s Collections is free to visit at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum and runs until Sunday 7 January 2018.