We look forward to more in this series of fascinating tours behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, please remember there are other You Tube presentations about the museum collections. Just use your search engine (eg Google) and type in Salisbury Museum You Tube. Click here for another example.
This mystery comes from the Look Again Project and the redisplaying of the costume gallery.
One of the items I handled when helping with the decant of the display cases was a pair of mid 17thC gauntlet gloves. Made from cream leather the gauntlets are decorated with silver metal fringe and embroidery. The edges of the fingers are also accentuated with a line of silver chain stitch.
I’d been admiring these gloves through the glass of the case for many years so to handle them was a real treat. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I inspected the insides to find the gauntlets lined with a document.
Beautiful clear Latin script on fine (I presume) parchment. Sadly, I don’t read Latin. My mind raced – was this subversive religious text or just 17thC up-cycling? I still don’t know, so if anyone is able to translate the text for me, I’d be very grateful, and I can provide more photos to help.
Does anyone know of other gloves lined with a document?
Does anyone wonder why we Volunteers love our work?? What a story! If you can read the Latin, please help. Thank you Pompi for bringing this one to our attention.
Attached here is a brief extract from a letter from Katy England, who, as most of you know is heading up the Look Again Project – all about the revamping of the Costume Gallery. The letter was originally written to the Volunteers involved with her project, but included here are the parts which are an introduction to a new blog!
“Project update – we are still carrying on and still need your help!
The recent world events have of course knocked the project off our plannedcourse and affected all of us….the staff team are carrying on working behind the scenes despite the closure to the public.
Emily and I will be grasping our curved needles and polyester wadding and carrying on with the mounting of the mannequins as well as other aspects of the project such as writing panels.”
All you need to do is click on the link above, or on the photo, and you will be taken to another great site where Katy and Emily and their volunteers are writing wonderful stuff about costume. Enjoy!
Jean and Jane continue to find early toys in the museum collection. This carriage has, in fact, just been removed from a display cabinet in the Costume Gallery – all part of the on-going work there. Next week painting will take place in the gallery and everything must be out by then!
Most wooden toys in our collection seem to be 200 years old, or less. Not surprising – they wear well but don’t last for ever! They are not unknown in archaeology and certainly go back 3 000 years but likely go back even further. The Ancient Egyptians put wooden toys in childrens’ graves, mostly dolls.
Throughout history, the most common wooden toys have been dolls, also carved animals, boats that float and wheeled vehicles that can be pushed or pulled. Perhaps little changes. And apart from dolls and animals that might be made of textiles or skins, and stuffed, wood must surely have been the most common material used, except for modern plastic. Lead, of course, was also much used, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly for the making of model soldiers, but also farm animals.
It is thought that the oldest of toys is the rattle, in one form or another. They need not be elaborate – sticks, seed pods and other items from nature can be made to make an interesting noise for a baby.
Clay and glass marbles have also been found in graves in Egypt.
In the twentieth century model cars and trains became popular and we might remember companies like Dinky and Hornby. In the second half of the century, TV became an influence as children wanted the animals and characters they saw in their ‘cult’ programmes – Magic Roundabout, Teletubbies. Muffin the Mule and Sooty puppets became popular. Costumes also became popular – the Davy Crockett hat, the Superman cape, the Cowboy suit – and these seem to be making a comeback. But these were not wood!
There have long since also been wooden toys to ride upon. The earliest must have been the hobby horse and some readers will remember, no doubt, grabbing an old sock and begging a broom stick from mum and making one of these. It is at least a Medieval tradition. For those too young to remember, the horse-like figure that could be made by stuffing the sock to look like a horse’s head, with suitable reins, etc, added, and placing it on the stick which was then grabbed between the knees and so ‘ridden’, was a favourite. And wooden rocking horses developed in perhaps the early 1600s. Apparently there was a tradition of tucking family heirlooms inside them – a lock of hair, a photograph, a child’s first toy or drawing – so if you have an old rocking horse at home, look carefully!
These are just mannequins being discarded as Katy England and her team redesign our Costume Gallery. It is all part of the ‘Look Again’ project. If you are interested, and in the museum in the coming days, you can climb up to the Gallery and see if the door is open. If it is, it is a sign that the team are there and you may be able to go in and watch the work being done.
Katy says it is all going well, with a priority at the moment being the removal of all items to allow painting to take place in a week or so’s time. It isn’t, needless to say, merely a question of popping items into the corner, out of the way. Some of the display cabinets include furniture and other small items from the museum collections, all needing to be checked against the catalogues and checked, also, for damage, etc. They then need to be packed carefully away.
‘Look Again: Discovering Centuries of Fashion’ is a project at the museum whereby, working with the community, our nationally significant costume collection will be reinterpreted and redisplayed.
Project Manager Katy England has been working on it for some months and now things are beginning to change.
Our present costume gallery will close this week. Meanwhile new ‘dummies’ are being prepared, carefully constructed to be a good fit for the costumes which will go on display towards the end of this year.
Volunteers from The Arts Society, and our own Volunteers, have been working for a considerable time checking, re-cataloguing and re-wrapping our collection. They are now also involved with the training necessary to decant the costumes currently on view and set up the new displays. Great care is needed with items which may be two or three hundred years old.
Students from secondary schools, colleges and Bournemouth University, as well as young carers, who have a long-term association with the museum, are also involved.
Costume Project Volunteers are invited to come along for a project catch-up and tea, coffee and cake on:
Wednesday 20 November from 2pm til 3.30pm.
Katy England would like to discuss the exciting next steps with the ‘Look Again; Discovering Centuries of Change’ project. There will also be an opportunity to discuss other costume cataloguing issues.
Please can you let Bridget know if you are able to attend.