For 117 years a museum has stood in Hatfield Road.

But this weekend marks the end of an era as the Museum of St Albans closes its doors to the public for the last time, before moving to its new home in the city’s Town Hall in 2017/18.

To celebrate the move of the museum’s historic and diverse collections, artist Lyndall Phelps has been working at the Hatfield Road centre this summer creating a unique sculptural installation.

The constantly evolving piece, titled Abundance, will be on display at the Museum’s closing celebration on Sunday, September 20.

“The residency has offered me privileged access to the rich collections held by the museum,” says Lyndall, who studied fine art at the University of New South Wales in Sydney before moving to the UK in 1999.

The many collections of artefacts at the Museum explore the history of the city since the departure of the Romans right up to the present day.

As staff empty the many display cases of objects, packing them into storage in preparation for the move, Lyndall has worked them into her sculpture which considers St Albans’ industrial heritage.

“It has been a joy discovering the many treasures in the museum’s archival boxes and storage areas, all giving a fascinating insight into the history of St Albans,” continues Lyndall, who often works with paper, photography, video and sound.

Painting the cases in distinctive white and metallic colours, Lyndall has picked a selection of artefacts and archival material and displayed them alongside her own work, taking inspiration from the collections.

Some of the pieces on show are exquisitely painted golden golf balls, delicately suspended rose petals, quirky bird figurines and embellished ladies' stockings.

Lyndall, who lives in Cambridgeshire, says: “As each week passes the installation grows, gradually transforming the space into something unexpected and magical.

“Now that the ‘finishing post’ is in sight I can hardly wait to see the completed installation; I hope visitors will be as captivated by it as I am.”

History, the military, decorative arts and the natural world are recurring themes in her work and this interest in a range of subjects reflects the museum’s varied collections.

Catherine Newley, curator of post-Medieval to contemporary collections at the Museum of St Albans, says: “Working with Lyndall has been a lovely opportunity to turn what could have been quite a sad occasion into a moment of celebration.

“It has been really exciting to bring out collections usually packed away in the store and see how she has responded to them in her artwork.

“Her focus on the local industries of St Albans will resonate with a lot of residents who have memories of these companies.”

Annabel Lucas, collections manager and exhibitions curator at University of Hertfordshire Galleries, says: “Lyndall has respectfully and lovingly transformed the old museum display, cherished and appreciated by so many visitors over decades.

“Working as an artist/curator she offers us a special, immersive experience that freshly explores well-known stories of St Albans.”

Abundance is the first stage in a three-part project supported by the Arts Council England.

During the two-year transitional period as the museum moves to its new premises in the Grade II-listed Town Hall, Lyndall will continue to explore the collections and share them with the public. Community groups will be invited to join a programme of creative activity centred on the museum’s unique collections and the new building.

By 2017, Lyndall will have created a new piece of art for the museum’s new site.

Work is now underway to raise funds to transform the Town Hall, in St Peter’s Street, into a new museum and art gallery. For more details about the fundraising campaign visit

Museum of St Albans’ Closing Event, Museum of St Albans, Hatfield Road, Sunday, September 20, 2pm to 5pm. Details: 01727 751810,