Costume Change

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

Highlights so far have been a donation of glove patterns from the former glove designer for Southcombes and continuing with the re-packing of the costume collection.

This is particularly important as there are often a considerable number of items stored in a comparatively small box. This may be due to the previous costume store being rather small and cramped. However, now at CHAC we have more space and environmentally controlled conditions. The challenge is to use the storage wisely.

The key element is re-packing items of costume in a way that limits any further damage or detriment. Therefore, our volunteer is assessing the needs of items and re-packing, where necessary, one box into at least two boxes. We are trying to avoid folding and creasing and opting instead for rolling, or placing flat, particularly with large items like decorative lace or even leather tranks.

We are grateful to our volunteer, who is following a thorough process; from renewing the acid-free tissue to photographing each item of costume, often from different angles, with a scale and accession number in the frame for ease of identification. The digital photographs can then be placed on computer as a visual record in terms of monitoring any signs of deterioration, uploaded to our MODES database, so the written record is accompanied by an actual image of the item; for use in exhibitions, twitter feeds or even the occasional blog!

The other simple and enjoyable element is each week revealing something exciting and new to our eyes, which we have never seen before. This is a fundamental point in itself as it is one thing to know what we have from a knowledge of the database and quite another to ‘physically’ look and study the actual items documented.

In addition, this is an important role in terms of volunteering, as the re-packing is something we need and must do, but which also our volunteer enjoys completing.

If not a costume change – then certainly a costume check and update!

Just some examples of the costume checked and re-packed so far!

The ‘Celebrating Yeovil’ 2017 Calendar is now available at The Emporium, 39 Princes Street, Yeovil.



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