AIM Pilgrim Trust Remedial Conservation Grant – Rustington Museum

Rustington Museum – AIM Pilgrim Trust remedial conservation grant
Pub sign conservation and mounting

Rustington Museum focuses on the village’s history from Palaeolithic to modern times. It explores the village’s famous residents such as Sir Hubert Parry and those with a strong connection like JM Barrie. The first museum was founded in 1980s by the Rustington Heritage Association (RHA) and in 2019 a brand-new museum opened its doors following a grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The pub signs conserved by the grant were originally displayed in the former museum gardens and their condition had deteriorated from exposure to the elements. Since the new museum opened both opportunity and space have been found for them to be permanently re-displayed inside as part of the exhibition on Rustington shops and businesses.

We selected the conservator, Stephen Umpleby from Artefacts Conservation Services, based on a recommendation from another local Museum and membership to ICON (as recommended by AIM). Stephen was able to stabilise the signs and clean them suitable for display. A full restoration was not required as the Museum wanted to maintain their authenticity.

The signs represent businesses past and present in the village and to have them restored and on display has attracted a lot of attention. It has increased awareness of the type of work the museum undertakes to record and preserve the history of the village. This grant has given the museum confidence to seek out other conservation projects that can benefit the collection and future displays.

“The grant has enabled us to conserve and display two items that reflect so much of Rustington social history. They are instantly recognisable, and provoke much discussion, mostly along the lines of “do you remember…?”, which is a large part of the Museum’s aims – encouraging visitors’ interaction with the exhibits,” Sheila Marsden, Chair, RHA.

Claire Lucas, Museum Manager, Rustington Museum

Pictured: Smugglers Roost pub sign at Rustington Museum; Windmill pub sign at Rustington Museum