Costume Society Museum Placement Award Application 2010

Costume Society Museum Placement Award Application 2010


Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service

Museum Resource Centre

14 Ryegate Road 


Essex CO1 1YG

Curator: Danielle Sprecher, Costume Curator


Phone: (removed)



Katrina O’Brien

Address: (removed)

Email: (removed)

Phone: (removed)

Second year BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design student at Colchester Institute

Course leader: Val Jacobs


Phone: 01206 518723


Project Proposal:


Preventative conservation, documentation, photography and display of hats in the Colchester costume collection


There are two discrete costume and textile collections at Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service of approximately 5000 objects each dating from the 1600s to the present day. Both collections require substantial work to improve documentation and/or storage.


The Colchester costume collection was moved in March 2008 from unsuitable and crowded attic storage in an eighteenth century building to a new museum store. Funds have been committed to support a documentation and preventative conservation project to repack and photograph the collection.


There are over 200 hats (including military helmets) in the Colchester costume collection. They are especially vulnerable because of their previous overcrowded storage and their need for adequate support when packed. The hats have been assessed by a hat specialist with particularly good examples being identified and advice given on how best to repack the collection. The hat collection requires organisation into a chronological order, documenting and research, repacking and photographing. A small display of hats is also planned for Hollytrees Museum in the summer of 2010 which will require assistance in mounting and installation.


Benefits to the Museum:

  • The hat collection will be made more accessible through improved documentation, storage, knowledge and research
  • This project will contribute to the larger costume collection documentation project which is limited by staff capacity and allow the project to progress further
  • The volunteer placement will build on partnership working already established between the Museum Service and the Colchester Institute to give greater access to the costume collections for Fashion and Textile students


Benefits to the Volunteer:

  • Working with historic costume and a medium sized costume collection including textiles, accessories and military uniforms
  • Object handling and experience of museum standards of practice
  • Documentation experience including updating Modes records, photographing objects, condition reporting, object identification, descriptions and research
  • Preventative conservation and repacking including learning different packing techniques and problem solving with difficult objects
  • Display skills costume mounting and installation
  • Working as part of a team, time management, organising work flow


Project duration:


Two days per week during July – August 2010 

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