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Exhibition “Dressed to the Nines” at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 4 September 2020

This exhibition, covering the period from 1850 to the present, explores some of the changes which have occurred in the clothing worn for special occasions.

On display as part of this are 12 garments, including an embroidered court uniform which belonged to Neville Chamberlain, cocktail dresses by Dior and Hartnell, many shoes and a number of accessories.

The Heritage Volunteer team from The Arts Society Arden, who have worked in the Museum’s Conservation Department for a number of years, was asked by the Curator to assist with the preparation of these items for display. The work undertaken by the team of 5 Arden volunteers included some conservation and the painstaking customising of the mannequins so that the costumes could be shown as originally worn.

The photograph shows one of the displays with outfits prepared by the Arden volunteers and is copyright Birmingham Museums Trust.

Heritage Volunteers

This long established group continue to work in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Conservation department where they have been engaged since 2012 in major conservation work on a set of 17th century embroidered bed hangings from Aston Hall, a great Jacobean house.

In early 2017, this work was temporarily halted so that the group could assist with the preparing and mounting of a number of late 19th century, early 20th century costumes for a touring exhibition arranged by Birmingham Museums Trust in association with the American Federation of Arts, entitled “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement”.  In addition, they mounted a number of pieces of William Morris textiles for the same exhibition which, in October 2018, went out to Oklahoma City, USA, the first venue of the eight cities it will tour over the next two years.

Following this, the Conservation Department asked for the group’s assistance with the recording and conservation packing of a large number of 3D items, and works on paper and some textile pieces prior to their removal to the Museum’s permanent storage facility.

This work having been completed, the work on the Aston Hall bed hangings has been resumed.