Monthly Archives: October 2016

Fit for a Queen

We have enjoyed a busy and involving week since our last post from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre.

This week’s highlights have included items that were on loan to Bruton Museum, returning to CHAC, including a chemise that we understand was worn by Queen Victoria. Our volunteers enjoyed the process of checking the items against the carefully prepared condition reports, making note of any observations in terms of condition and points for future checking and then placing the objects back in their permanent location, for staff to update the object’s record on our database.

The Know Your Place Project is reaching the Public Exhibition stage and we are assisting with the text from our Yeovil contributions on Gloving and Wyndham Hill.

We will also be preparing our next display for Yeovil Library Window, due to be ready by Wednesday 2nd November 2016 and also accessioned a fascinating photograph of Huish, Yeovil, showing Queen Street, which we hope to have ready for the BLOG next time.

We have also received a request to help with a display at Ninesprings Café in Yeovil with illustrations of Ninesprings and any background information.

Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is now available.

More images of our Volunteer Visit on 10th October 2016 – this time Crewkerne Museum. Crewkerne Museum can be contacted on (01460) 77079.




Aspiring to Greatness

Aspiring to Greatness

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

So far this week, we have shared our first loan of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) “Battle of the Somme” DVD with Milborne Port History Society with a screening on Monday 17th October 2016. This copy was returned on Wednesday 19th October 2016, only to be loaned out again to East Coker. We were particularly intrigued to hear the conversation between the group organiser which had seen the film and the one about to view the documentary. We will be even more fascinated to hear the ‘view from East Coker’ and discover their impressions. We also loaned a selection of Somme themed A4 mounted images, produced by the IWM to East Coker.

The big event this week was in Salisbury, Wiltshire as a staff member and volunteer travelled to The Salisbury Museum for training on “Caring for Social History Collections.” This was particularly thought-provoking as the first part of our discussion looked at how we define ‘social history’ in the first place. Possibly the simplest, ‘working’ definition would be ‘shaped by human intervention with written or artistic provenance and reflecting everyday life’. This helps to distinguish social history from archaeology. However, as we discussed, the parameters can be indistinct, especially when a local collector (and therefore within in a museum’s collecting policy) collects the archaeological item and makes notes about the object in a diary.

We also enjoyed practical exercises writing object condition reports and making observations. One example was a book mark with a fabric tassel, which presented issues of looking after paper and textile, but also the obvious points could be the ones we miss; as the greatest risk in terms of potential damage would simply be from bending or folding. In addition, the Winchester- themed book mark also presented issues in terms of collecting policy, as clearly Salisbury Museum would not wish to collect this object; but the book mark may have come in a book on Salisbury and be part of the object’s ‘social history.’

We also took part in conservation cleaning exercises and practical cleaning of objects with a variety of materials, including microfibre cloths.

We also learnt it would possibly be best on our next visit to Salisbury and Salisbury Cathedral with Britain’s tallest spire at 123 metres to use the Park and Ride!

The Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is now in The Courtyard Café, 27 Market Street, Yeovil BA20 1HZ (01935) 472407.

We were also looking at storage of costume this week.


One of our recently scanned photographs:



Community Treasure Chest

We have enjoyed a busy and thought-provoking week, since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre.

Monday saw us visit Crewkerne and Chard Museums with our volunteers for an autumn volunteer outing. This was a rewarding day, to see how two South Somerset museums are run, cared for and the considerable collections and activities conducted to promote and encourage interest in the community. Refreshments were gratefully appreciated and a particular thank you to Janet Harris at Crewkerne for allowing us to visit on a day when Crewkerne Museum is normally closed and to Roger Carter, John Allen and ‘Tea Team’ at Chard for their welcome. Lunch in Crewkerne was great too!

Tuesday saw a completely unexpected visit from a member of the public asking for an axe to be identified. Only last week, we held our autumn Finds Afternoon, so staff contacted the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer for any thoughts. One contact suggested was the Ethnographic Officer at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, Devon.

This was their very helpful reply:

“It is a rather common farm axe which is still employed today for chopping and carving wood; it’s not as nice as other axe types that have been used. This was either brought to the UK in the 60s/ 70s or it was made here.

Most African axes are really well made. The iron is usually of high quality and the wood handles are sometimes nicely carved. This example is a roughly made axe but one that can do the job effectively.”

We also enjoyed visits to CHAC to help with an essay on Museums and their function and a visit from a Martock couple, one of which grew up in Yeovil, so was delighted by our Walk Books of Yeovil in the 1960s.

Today sees our first loan of the Imperial War Museum “Battle of the Somme” DVD to Milborne Port History Society for a screening on Monday 17th October 2016 – feedback next time!

The farm axe brought in for identification




Scraping Home

We have enjoyed a busy and productive week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

So far this week, we are fulfilling the ‘Community’ part of our name. We have helped Ham Hill Visitor Centre with a selection of handling objects for a new display on Romans and Quarrying; we have met with a representative from Yeovil District Hospital interested in our loans box service for schools and how this can be used for reminiscence sessions with patients and we agreed a date for our next group of Yeovil College Degree Level Students to start in November 2016 to see how we can help with their English and History Courses.

We also held our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon with the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO).

The Somerset FLO is based in Taunton but has a number of ‘finders’ across Somerset. A busy timetable means it is difficult seeing everyone, particularly those in Yeovil. The idea is to see three or four ‘finders’ in one location in 30-minute slots. This helps local people to access this service and also to speed up the process of identifying archaeological material and returning items to people.

On this occasion, two particularly notable flint scraper blades from the South Somerset area were identified and returned. Flint scrapers were fashioned to scrape animal skin or for processing plant material and were not cutting edges. The earlier scraper dated from the Neolithic period, with the second scraper, more likely from the Bronze Age. Intriguingly, the Finds Liaison Officer informed us that as flint scrapers progressed they actually got cruder in design, which is one way to tell the difference in age.

The Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is featured in the October 2016 Conduit Magazine.

The scraper blades found in South Somerset which were a fascinating part of our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon, held at CHAC.