All of our textiles have been put through the freezer (the Institute has two industrial cold rooms) and are now in the new textile store. Before going into the freezer they had to be wrapped in acid free tissue and then in plastic sheeting. As the parcels would be experiencing temperatures of –28oC it was important to remove as much air and any possible moisture sources as possible to prevent condensation forming on the object.
Although some textiles have already been removed to go on display, it is now time to check the other textiles to assess their condition and storage needs before they are rearranged within the store.
It is a bit like Christmas or a birthday unwrapping the parcels, and even though you know what is in the box (hopefully!) it is always nice to see the object in reality rather than as an image on a database.
In this case, as you can see, it is a beautiful doll. The accession register describes it as a Kitaamiut (West Greenlandic) woman doll, collected around 1921. She has a wonderful costume made from textile and leather decorated with dyed leather patterns and trimmed with seal fur and velvet. Around her neck is a cowl made from tiny coloured glass beads.
I like her face which is somewhat hidden by her costume.
Like Willow and Ronald in one of the previous blogs, I am also using the same criteria to condition check the textiles; basically, what condition is the material in and what conservation does it require? In this case the doll is in good condition and only has slight moth damage, so will only require minimal conservation.
Looking at the database, I see we have a pair of underpants made from string – I’ll keep you posted!
(Images © SPRI/Fiona Cahill, R.D. Smith)