Caring for our collections: Packing the model of HMS Caroline.

1 September 2023

His Majesty’s Ship Caroline was built by Randall at Rotherhithe and launched in 1795, then broken up at Deptford, September 1815. In 1802, the ship was put under the command of Benjamin William Page, a Royal Navy admiral who lived in Ipswich.

The model in Ipswich Museum’s collection is exceptionally important, as it was owned by Admiral Page and retains its original rigging.  After many decades of being on display, the ship model has now been moved to the store and is awaiting conservation works.

Ashley Scopes from our Decant Team, who packed the object so it could be safely moved to the storage, said:

I started off by planning how I was going to pack the ship with an acid-free material. I needed to support it without putting too much pressure in any one place, so I decided to make a cradle to fit the ship out of multiple layers of Plastazote* foam.

I then measured around the ship from its centre at 3 levels, to transfer its shape onto the Plastazote sheets. These were then carved out with knives and stuck together with double-sided tape.

Now the model was ready to be moved into its new cradle. With the help of my colleagues, we lifted the ship into its new home and it was ready to be stored in a crate built from recycled materials by one of our suppliers, Ian Drake Design.”

*Plastazote foam is a polyethylene foam manufactured by a British company. It is non-toxic, light odourless, water-repellent, easy to cut and shape, which make it a perfect material for stabilising and protecting the museum’s objects. It is in wide use worldwide for many different purposes such as pool toys, gym and exercise mats, helmet liners or shoe insoles.

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