EDFAS Heritage Volunteers part of the team at the Museum of Scotland

The EDFAS Heritage volunteers began by making a conservation-grade padded hanger for every garment. They also made a garment bag to cover each object, which helps to protect the garment from dust and during handling. A laminated colour photo with each object’s unique museum number is tied to the side of each bag, making it quick and easy to identify the object inside. The EDFAS team were involved in taking the photos of the objects and, following a handling training session with the textile conservator, putting them onto the hangers. The volunteers really enjoyed this aspect of the project, particularly as a number of them were owners of Jean Muir garments!

Following the success of this project, the volunteers continued to make a variety of padded hangers, building up a stock for use in the stores. As news spread of their abilities, the EDFAS team started to branch out into other projects for different parts of the collections. They made ‘pillows’ of Tyvek filled with Polystyrene beads in a range of sizes, which are used by museum artefact conservators for packing objects for storage and transport. This project then snowballed as well, with a request from the geological conservator for bags that could be filled with sand and then used to support specimens while treatment is carried out. EDFAS Heritage Volunteers made silver safe bags for storing cleaned silver objects. Storage improvements were also made for a collection of 19th-century Japanese woodblock-printed books. More recently, the team started working on improvements to the storage of the museum’s glove collection.

The EDFAS volunteers are now like a well-oiled machine according to their manager at the museum. With each new task, they organise themselves into groups: those who sew, those who measure and cut, those who use the glue gun and so on. The input required from their manager has significantly reduced over the years, as everyone has all become more familiar with what is required and what works. The museum and its collections benefit from the time given by a dedicated and fun group of people, who make significant storage improvements for the textile collections. Their reputation has spread and the latest request for their time is from the museum’s furniture curator, who would like covers for the stored upholstered furniture… So watch this space for an update!


Edinburgh DFAS - www.edfas.uk

National Museums of Scotland - http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/

More information on NADFAS Heritage Volunteering - http://www.nadfas.org.uk/what-we-do/heritage-volunteers


Volunteering stories