I’m the Assistant Curator who works with textiles at the Whitworth. I recently picked some things from our collection to go on display in one of the drawer units in the Textile Gallery. We have thousands of textiles in the collection so these ‘browsers’ are a great opportunity to show lots of objects on a particular theme. However, this creates as much work for our Conservator as preparing a much bigger display.
I chose things which were originally made to cover, protect or decorate the body: masks, gloves, socks, bodices and underwear from a wide variety of cultures and times. I thought it would be fun for visitors to feel like they were rooting through somebody’s drawers. The choices needed to be small (so they can fit in) and sturdy enough to withstand the drawers being pulled open and shut. Because I chose so many 3D items our Textile Conservator and Conservation Technician are now busily creating beautiful supports for every single item (which they can stay on when they come off display).
Look out for these mittens (and the smock pictured at the top of this blog) which will appear in the browser in the next few weeks.