Exhibits almost ready to see the light of day

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Thousands of museum exhibits are ‘edging closer’ to seeing the light of day once more – three years after they were put into storage when their former home in Sheffield was forced to shut.

Some 46,000 items required new homes when the Traditional Heritage Museum closed its doors on Ecclesall Road.

The bulk of its collections, which represented past decades of city life, went to Green Estate, operators of Sheffield Manor Lodge.

Now staff at the historic site say they are almost ready to reinstall the exhibits.

“We’re really pleased that the collections were not spread out across the country and that the majority of items have remained here in Sheffield,” said Andy Messer, living history officer at Manor Lodge.

“We’re looking forward to getting the items back on show and are moving as fast as we can.”

Many of the domestic household items from the heritage museum, which span the years from 1850 to 1970, are being incorporated into the site’s World War Two Living History Cottages, due for completion in December.

The museum’s recreations of Sheffield shops, such as Pollard’s tea and coffee, meanwhile will be reinstalled into a new street – including a seed merchants, chemist, cobblers and corner shop.

“These two new additions will bring great new interactive elements to Manor Lodge as we plan to have live actors at both the cottages and shops.

“We hope to open the cottages for the first time on December 13 for a 1940s Christmas Day event when people will be able to view the two-storey cottages kitted out with various exhibits while enjoying a range of activities.

“Plans are then in place to convert a barn on the site to house the replica shops where visitors will get a taste of what life was like in times gone by, though we are still looking for additional funding to complete that project.

“To ensure the remainder of the exhibits get a show we will also have a changing display to bring items out of storage.

“It’s going to take some more time but when it’s finished it will be something that Sheffield can be very proud of.”

The Traditional Heritage Museum closed in 2011 after the building was found to be in need of major repairs.

Other recipients of exhibits which needed to be moved included Sheffield Archives, which agreed to house material relating to the steel and metalworking industries, Museums Sheffield and Kelham Island Museum. The Ken Hawley Trust, which manages the tool collection at Kelham Island, was handed almost 7,000 items in total.