The changeover period between exhibitions starts mundanely enough with maintenance visits by contractors to check the environmental monitoring equipment, air handling units, and alarm systems. The last thing you want is a malfunction after opening. Lifting the floor and descending into the ‘pit’ is an interesting reminder of what lies below and behind the carefully placed items seen by visitors to the exhibition.
For Shelley’s Ghost we want the visitors to the exhibition to be able to try out the exhibition website on their visit, but we first must lay ten metres of new cabling and move a data point. By mid-morning the contractors have left and we can re-lay the carpets, clear the room and start moving in the exhibits. This is always an exciting moment. First item out of the truck is Shelley’s guitar, securely if improbably housed in the kind of black and silver flight-case Oxford’s other famous poets, Radiohead, would use for their electric guitars.