Stitches, Threads & Yarns training project rolled out across Mid North Coast museums

Storytelling: Port Macquarie Museum volunteer Margaret Blight with the Boer War Forage Cap recently documented for the Stitches, Threads & Yarns project.

Storytelling: Port Macquarie Museum volunteer Margaret Blight with the Boer War Forage Cap recently documented for the Stitches, Threads & Yarns project.

Museum volunteers from Dorrigo to Wingham have recently completed a training program to help them care for special and vulnerable costume and textile objects in their collections.

The Stitches, Threads & Yarns training project was organised by Museums Australia (MA) - Mid North Coast Chapter and funded by a $13,265 grant from the 2016 Community Heritage Grants program administered by the National Library of Australia.

“Stitches, Threads & Yarns has enabled us to bring in some expert consultants to train and mentor museum volunteers so that they can better care for costume and textile objects in their collections,” Debbie Sommers, MA – Mid North Coast Chapter president said.

“There were 30 volunteers from 11 museums participating in the project. They attended a series of seven workshops over the past six months and learnt how to document costume and textile objects, how to perform a significance assessment and how to handle, store and display their objects to ensure they survive into the future.

“Training programs like this one, are very important for local collections and local communities.

“They ensure that people working with collections have the necessary skills to care for items they hold in trust for their local communities.”

There are numerous special and significant objects in collections right across our region and this project has helped to identify some that might otherwise have gone unnoticed or had been overlooked to date.”

The Stitches, Threads & Yarns training project leaves participating museums with the necessary skills and documentation to seek, where necessary, further resources to support them in caring for these objects. It has also provided a series of important networking and learning opportunities for museum volunteers which would not otherwise have been possible.

Some of the objects documented through the project have been placed online and can be viewed HERE. Others will be added in coming weeks.

Among the many textile treasures to be documented during the project were a Boer War Forage Cap and Embroidered Grand Piano Cover from the Port Macquarie Museum collection.

Museum consultant Kylie Winkworth who trained and mentored museum workers during the project has described the piano cover as “undoubtedly one of the most significant examples of embroidery in an Australian public collection”. 

Participating museums included Tinonee Museum, Wingham Museum, Wauchope Museum, Douglas Vale Historic Homestead, Mid North Coast Maritime Museum, Port Macquarie Museum, Historic Courthouse, Slim Dusty Museum, Frank Partridge V. C. Museum, Don Dorrigo and Guy Fawkes Museum and Coffs Harbour Museum.

The Stitches, Threads & Yarns project was supported by the Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program managed by the National Library of Australia.