The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle in County Durham has enhanced its Textiles and Dress Gallery as part of a £3.3m capital project with a number of exciting new features including the creation of a new area within the glass cube.Providing much greater public access and interaction, as well as improved display space, the concept is to allow the public to see many exhibits which would otherwise be hidden away from view.It will also provide a study area for visitors to have access to more of the collections.
The space will be home to one of the largest and most significant European textile collections in Britain, which includes a unique collection of French upholstery textiles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and its famous collection of North Country Quilts.
The 5m high, 6.5m x 6.5m glass cube was designed by Blue, a design company specialising in exhibition design for museums, and installed by Peterlee Glass which worked closely with structural engineers Billinghurst George & Partners. The project was managed by main contractor Simpson (York) which works extensively in the leisure, office and retail fit-out sectors.
SFS intec’s single point fixings were used in conjunction with its spider fixings to offer a reliable and visually appealing installation, with the glass cube positioned between the building’s characteristic stone pillars.
Billinghurst George & Partners designed the structural support for the glass panels, which was in two parts. Firstly, to avoid overloading the existing floor, strengthening beams were installed, hidden from view within the floor void. Above floor level, a slimline steel frame provided direct support to SFS intec’s spider fixings, with minimal visual intrusion. Within the cube, textiles will be offered for viewing by the public, suspended from the roof of the steel framework in dramatic style.
Joanna Hashagen, Keeper of Textiles at The Bowes Museum says, “The glass cube provides a flexible work space which transforms the way we are able to present our textile and dress collections. We have lots of small objects which need to be stored flat and will be accommodated by a large floor to ceiling storage unit. Our internationally renowned collection of North Country Quilts will be more accessible than ever as they will be suspended from the ceiling rather than being rolled up and stored away as they were previously.
“But this new Textiles and Dress Gallery is much more than a storage space. We will be using the glass cube as a conservation and study area which will also be open to the public at times and we have a fantastic location within the museum to display touring collections.”
SFS intec’s glass attachment systems are perfect for glass facades as well as numerous other internal and external features including balustrades, stairways, partitions and signage. In addition to a wide choice of single, bevel and flush point fixings, the company also offers an easy to select glass canopy fixing system which allows architects, glass processors and structural engineers to create stylish canopies with ease.