We’re unpacking our collection of props in their new home, coming close-up to some incredible craftsmanship as well as a few surprises.

We began work on the relocation of our extensive museum collection in April this year. From costumes to old props, lights to furniture from the original 1879 theatre, everything has been carefully saved and preserved. After so many decades of operating, our collection measures in the thousands.

We’ve now packed and transferred our full collection of props to the new store. In the coming weeks we will be carefully unpacking these items and organising them in their new home, but we’ve already made a few rediscoveries.

Empty blue metal shelves with luggage labels tied to them
The old prop store with shelves now empty
Photo by Gina Print © RSC Browse and license our images

Collection’s Manager, Robyn Greenwood said: “This has been a really exciting time for the team – we have over 800 items in our museum props collection and as much as we would like to, we have not always been able to see each one in immaculate detail. For preservation some items need to stored in special boxes protecting them from light and dust. The move has provided the opportunity to look at and photograph items in more detail.”

Our props collection is made up of prop items (portable object other than furniture or costumes used on the set of a play) used on stage, but also scenery and furniture.

ornate metal casket

 

Some of the items we know a lot about – such as this beautiful casket made for The Jew of Malta from our props department in 2015. It’s filled with individual coins which gleamed under the theatre lights on stage. We took the opportunity to photograph it in detail as we packed it for transit and now gleams under our photographer’s lights. It’s a great example of the craftmanship of the RSC staff and will be one of the items on open storage display in the new stores.

There are other objects we know little about – such as this severed head on a pole. It hasn’t been documented but we found it in the storeroom. We believe it may be from the 70s or 80s due to the materials it is made from. If you recognise it, please get in touch by emailing collection@rsc.org.uk

Severed Head on a pole with matted hair and very bloody

The move to a new store is necessary because the current storage facility is full to capacity. The new setup will allow us to improve the environmental conditions needed to preserve the pieces. Next month we move onto packing our costume collection.