Eight members of the Armidale Folk Museum travelled up to the Land of the Beardies on Monday to learn how Glen Innes’ History House store and exhibit their clothing and textile collections.
“We’re going through our collections, and rediscovering some fairly significant items,” Folk Museum team leader Hayley Ward said.
“Glen Innes has an amazing collection and storage facilities. They've done a lot of professional development on their clothing and textiles through the Powerhouse Museum. We thought it’d be nice to come up and see what they’re doing, and learn a few things.”
History House general manager Eve Chappell took the visitors on a tour. She showed them how the museum sets up displays, and how they store and catalogue their textiles collection.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to share what we’re doing in our museum with them,” Ms Chappell said.
Clothing is fragile and delicate, and needs care.
Glen Innes has a huge textile collection, but can only put a little bit out at once, and then only for a short time. On display now are samples children made in schools, silk patchwork quilts, and Chinese silk shawls – all from the nineteenth century.
“They’ve got some really good storage solutions,” Ms Ward said. “We’re learning the best way to store our clothing collection and textiles, so we can serve what we have.”
The picks of the Armidale collection include a fine woollen Scottish shawl from the 1840s; wedding dresses; and working class clothes.
“Often we don’t get to see those sort of domestic items,” Ms Ward said. They rarely survive, because they’re not taken care of, or are reworked, redone, and reused.
Some Armidale items are on display in an exhibition celebrating Armistice Day. Clothes show how fashion changed around World War I; the Victorians’ frills, laces, corsets, and long skirts were replaced with more practical clothes – shorter skirts, and, for the first time, trousers – women could move around in more easily, as they took on labouring and farmhand jobs.
The Folk Museum plans to display more of their collections in future exhibitions.
Both museums welcomed the chance to collaborate.
It's really lovely to work with other regional museums, and form some strong partnerships, so we can look at regional tourism, especially around culture and heritage," Ms Ward said.
“We’re also picking up ideas from them,” Ms Chappell said. “Networking between museums and historical groups is enormously important.”
The Armidale Folk Museum, corner Rusden & Faulkner Streets, is open 7 days a week, 1 to 4pm; entry free.
Land of the Beardies History House Museum, Ferguson Street, Glen Innes, is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, weekends 1pm to 4pm. Adults $8, seniors $5, children and school groups free.