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.

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One of our recently scanned photographs:

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