We have enjoyed a busy and far-reaching week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.
So far, the historical maps from the collection digitised for the ‘Know Your Place’ Project have returned to us in conservation sleeves. This makes them simpler to store and a lot lighter to lift, now removed from their Perspex and board backing. Staff also travelled to Exeter, Devon for an “Introduction to Documentation” Course in the top floor of the Phoenix Centre. This was a fascinating reminder and update for the 15 candidates present; especially as the Course Leader had documented and accessioned the Flying Scotsman!
We have also created our January Yeovil Library Window on the theme of National Holocaust Memorial Day, which is the 27th January 2016.
One of our main conservation tasks this week is to check and re-pack a significant collection of fans. This is a notable reminder to us that with preparing for enquiries, completing grant funding applications and conducting guiding tours, we spend only a precious degree of time checking on the condition and provenance of objects and therefore re-discover some amazing ‘gems.’
In the case of the fans, we checked through accession numbers on our MODES database to see how much detail was recorded and to confirm the materials in each object. This latter point was significant as many of the fans are made of ivory and as we cannot prove this dates before 1945, have to store them separately. There were also fans made with sea shell and even paper fans hand written with instructions for a dance!
One of the highlights of our search was a decorative fan donated by Henry Stiby. Henry Stiby was born in Sherborne and formed an ironmongery business in partnership with Mr Denner (of Denners Department Store fame) was a keen photographer and Sunday School Leader and Stiby Road is named after him. Henry Stiby also donated items to form the basis of the Museum Collection including his glass plate negatives, which feature a number of images of local churches and the Firearm Collection. The significance of the fan is to provide a whole new perspective on someone we thought we knew; simply because of what may be considered his existing ‘manly’ donations, we also discover a fan donated by him. This is interesting when we consider that Henry Stiby (to our knowledge) never married and was buried with his housekeeper.
Next time, we hope to report on our bi-monthly archaeological Finds Afternoon.
Two of the fans in the collection, originally donated by Henry Stiby.