One of our main partners, the Highland Folk Museum, has recently taken on two workers to document and conserve their vernacular organics collection (i.e. biodegradable objects like baskets). The museum has taken on a documentation Assistant, Helen Pickles, and an assistant conservator, Rachael Thomas, to work through the baskets, textile craft hand tools, Barvas Ware ceramics, horn and treen collections.
Helen says: “The work that you and the other basket researchers have put into the Woven Communities website has been really useful in getting to know the basket collection here, especially when it comes to names and uses of particular types of baskets. Rachael and I didn’t have any detailed knowledge of basketry before we started here, so it’s been great to make use of the online expertise related to the collection here.”
Helen has been updating the museum’s collections database, Adlib, with information about the baskets including provenance details from their written catalogues and records, materials, dimensions, physical descriptions, location of the objects, etc. They have taken photos and are uploading these to the records too. They’ve also added notes about the usage and any interesting information about the baskets, often sourced from the Woven Communities website. The database isn’t available online at the moment, but the longer term plan is to have an online database although this is a good few years away yet. In the meantime, Rachael and Helen are keeping a blog about their project as they progress through the year, which our visitors may find of interest:
They’re about to move on to the next part of the collection, the textile craft tools. Hopefully the ground work that they’ve done will facilitate future research by individuals and groups such as Woven Communities, as the baskets are now audited, better organised and stored, and the records are in a more useable format.