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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Model of catamaran
20th century
Pernambuco, Brazil
1938.557 A-H

"Model fishing boats can really hook you in! There is something about this model catamaran which really sparked my curiosity. Ensuring its safety on its voyage to new storage proved to be one of my greatest packing achievements yet."

Jane Pettitt

Setting sail to a new store

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There is something about model boats that really draws me in, seeking out intricate, and sometimes functional details. It always leaves me wanting to know more about the contextual significance, physical and intangible, in which they are created.

During the Stores Move Project I have had the pleasure of working with several model boats held in off-site MAA storage. Packing objects for transport and storage when they are designed to move can be quite a challenge. When I first encountered this model of a fisherman’s catamaran with accompanying tools, ‘1938.557 A-H’, I was both captivated and intimidated by the multi-element packing challenge of stabilising loose and attached elements upon the boat. Each of these elements needed to be fixed in place to prevent damage during transit. This therefore required a total rethink of the interior box space. It is during difficult packing situations like this, that you cannot help but wonder how model boats initially travelled to the museum!


To facilitate ‘1938.557 A-H’ to sail through to the new Centre for Material Culture (CMC), I decided to divide the model into eight groupings labelled with the suffixes ‘A-H’. Groupings were decided upon their location and mobility relating to the catamaran. I then created plastazote base panels and inserts (white foam) to provide archival grade support. As you can see, this created a visible back wall location to pin detachable model elements. I also created lined cotton tape straps and cushions of scrunched tissue paper for support, the latter almost invoking the momentum of a full sail toward the CMC!

I am so pleased with the end packing result practically and visually, as well as for the opportunity to interact with this model catamaran. I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the Stores Move Project!

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Jane Pettitt - Collections Assistant (Stores Move)


Jane Pettitt (Bsc Hons, MSt) is a Collections Assistant (Stores Move Project) at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. In her current role Jane is part of the Stores Move Team, and holds joint responsibility for the inventory, digitisation, condition assessment, packing and removal of the off-site collections, Archaeology and Anthropology, to a newly refurbished collections store in Cambridge.

Jane has a background in Anthropology (BSc) and Building History (MSt), with a particular interest in Material Culture studies. She has carried out research in a wide range of subject areas including the ecological, material significance and fishing practices relating to the Trinidadian dish, Curry Cascadoo, to explore the building type of shopping parades in the northern suburbs of London, 1880-1900, as well as conducting building survey and research.

Prior to working at the MAA, Jane worked at UCL Ethnographic Collections as Assistant Curator and later as a Project Manager, where she regularly represented the Collections during public engagement sessions. Maintaining an interest in the heritage sector, Jane has experience as a Researcher and Assistant to the Government Advice Team, Historic England, volunteering with the National Trust and Historic England East of England Heritage at Risk Team, as well as more recently working as a Conservation Assistant within the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service Historic Environment Team.

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.