The Flax of the Matter

We have enjoyed another busy and insightful week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil. One of the highlights was receiving the news from the Arts Council of a successful grant application of £500 towards de-humidifiers in our store.
One of our volunteers is presently completing an audit of our store. This involves noting the description; accession number and location of each item – so we know the ‘who, where, what, how and why’ of an object and just as importantly, recording those objects that do not have this information and trying to discover any further details.
This process has naturally highlighted some ‘mystery objects’, which when our volunteer shows us individually, we often respond ‘where did you find that’ and our volunteer naturally responds ‘on the shelf’.
This reflects the fact that we are promoting CHAC and our collections, maintaining or raising our profile through visits and our website, answering enquiries and leading guided ‘introductory’ tours, so we tend not to focus on individual objects; what they are used for; or how they are made. We have a selection of objects which we use to illustrate stories for tours, but it is pleasantly surprising how many objects come across ‘as new’ to our eyes.
The two illustrated here are a tool from the flax industry called a ‘Swingle’ for beating the flax and a letter parcel balance used by Yeovil Rural District Council.
The interesting balance with the audit is to make brief accurate detail but also record any notable features, which can also be added to our existing database records for each item – which is a rewarding role, both for the volunteer and staff.

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