Talk on textile conservation

Brechin Probus Club met on Tuesday, May 1 at the Northern Hotel when new chairman, Hector Masterton reminded members that this year’s spring outing, to the National Museum of Scotland, will take place on Wednesday, May 23.

Those attending the event are asked to meet the coach at the bus stop opposite Mackie Motors for departure at 9am. The bus will return at approximately 8pm.

The chairman then introduced the speaker for the morning, Ms Lynn MacClean, who spoke of her involvement with Textile Conservation at the National Museum for Scotland.

There are six different museums: the National Museum, War Museum, Flight and Transport Museum, Museum of Rural Life, Costume and Textile Museum.

The Textile Conservation Department, where Lynn works, employs 20 peoples whose main aim is to slow down the deterioration of as many artifacts held in the National Museum.

Lynn is also engaged in talking to various bodies and organisations to make them aware of both the conservation and restoration activities undertaken in her department.

She drew attention to the damage that unrestricted light does to items of antiquity and how essential it is to keep the level of light at acceptable low levels.

Some of the artifacts that her department has worked on include: The Orkney Hood, Highland dress worn by King George IV that was badly damaged by moths, a grenadiers cap cira 1800s, armoured jacket cira 1600s, and the Avendail Covenanters flag.

The techniques used to limit damager and to restore various items of value were then demonstrated with the use of special washing to remove creases and adhesives to paste together particularly fragile items.

An artifact which attracted special interest was the Egyptian lufenamum’s mummy that Lynn, her staff, and various specialist departments worked on, improving the mummy’s wrappings with various scans of the body.

Much care was taken when moving the body to avoid damaging it and the wooden coffin in which the mummy was held was also given careful restoration work.

Finally she highlighted the work that had been carried out on restoring railway and other posters.

The members found Lynn’s talk most interesting and indeed in his vote of thanks Geoffrey Rose said that the scale of interest was reflected in the large number of questions that her talk had generated.