The house might be closed over winter months, but there is plenty going on behind the scenes! One job at this time of year is to dismantle the 2023 display in Fursdon’s family museum.
This has included the careful handling of an incredibly fragile patchwork throw, hand-sewn from remnants of dress fabric by ladies living at Fursdon in the 18th century. On show in our exhibition this year, this beautiful textile attracted much admiration from summer visitors. The colours are still amazingly vibrant considering how old it is making it a wonderful insight into how bright the ladies dresses were during this period.
Due to its fragility, this piece is unlikely to be displayed again in the near future. However, we managed to sneak a photo of it in its full splendour before it was packed away safely using acid-free tissue paper. Rest assured that it will now be stored in a manner more fitting than when David and Catriona first discovered it, bundled into an old trunk back in 1979!
Cadbury Castle artefacts
We are excited to be working on a re-display of our Cadbury Castle artefacts, discovered during an archeological dig that took place in 1848. There are around forty pieces including beads and fragments of bracelet and pottery that are significant itemsfrom the Iron Age period, and we are delighted that ex-museum worker Jenny Yendell has volunteered to help us with their display.
We hope that next year’s visitors will enjoy a new appreciation for these items once the project is complete!
Digitisation of our collection
Another exciting project on the go is the digitisation of our costume, object and library collections. This has been a long time coming and will allow us to record, access and share data relating to our collections in a much more efficient way.
Again, we are grateful to volunteer Jane McCreath, who is helping us to input data in a way that meets national museum standards, and to Catriona Fursdon, who has painstakingly catalogued and conserved everything over the last 40 years.
Antique book restoration
A couple of years ago, we had the privilege of a day with specialist book conservator Caroline Bendix, who came to Fursdon and trained up a small team of volunteers on library conservation.
Each winter, we now try to have a few days spent repairing books. This is a peaceful and painstaking activity that involves careful dusting, small leather and spine repairs and the re-tying of more delicate books that need to be held together.
We are slowly working our way around the library as time allows – an exercise that we hope will help to preserve these books for future generations.
If you are interested in donating towards any of the current or future museum conservation projects at Fursdon, please do get in touch 🙂