Many watch conservator at work
An elegant silk gown from the 1860s has been brought to life at the Western Bay Museum, after four days of skilful work by Te Papa conservator of costumes and textiles, Sam Gatley.
From Saturday to Tuesday Ms Gatleyworked preparing and mounting the gown, with assistance of local volunteers Caz Hughes and Margaret McClymont. Museum curator Paula Gaelic said Ms Gatley was very patient, precise and methodical.
“Sam had to do a second fitting this morning because the shoulder padding had relaxed a little during the night. Unless everything sits perfectly, right down to the last millimetre, she is not happy. None of her work can be rushed.”
The expertise, qualification and skill shown during the mounting process has enlightened and delighted the many visitors travelling from Papamoa, Te Puke, and all over the Bay of Plenty, she said.
“We had over 100 visitors, some coming each day, and on Monday morning we had 30 guests at the invite-only workshop with staff from the Tauranga Art Gallery, teachers and students from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Katikati College history teacher and students, The Elms, Tauranga Collection, Te Puke library staff, and more were enthralled, listening to every word.”
The curator of the Museum of Argentina also paid a visit.
Ms Gatley does not usually work in the public arena. Mrs Gaelic said this is something Western Bay Museum does that is very different.
“We do this to build awareness and appreciation of what qualified museum staff do.”
Joanne Shaw of Omokoroa donated the gown that had once beenworn by her greatgrandmother, Frances Minns. Mrs Shaw was at the museum on Tuesday to watch the final fittings and delivery of the gown into the showcase. She told Mrs Gaelic she was very pleased that the museum was taking care of it.
Mrs Gaelic said she was proud of what had happened at the museum and was very grateful to Te Papa National Services Te Paerangi.
“This takes our museum to another level.”
The mounting of the gown is the curtain raiser to the opening of the Suffrage 125— Our Women, Their Stories exhibition which opens to the public tomorrow. Much of the research for this exhibitionwas done by volunteer Joan Boggiss, who has spent hundreds of hours sourcing old photographs and information. Catherine (Kate) Sheppardwas the most prominent member of the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand.
It was due to their efforts that women in this country got the right to vote.
SAM Gatley (right) with assistant Caz Hughes working gently mounting the delicate Shaw gown.
GOWNdonor, Joanne Shaw (back) watches Ms Gatley work on the final underpinnings to ensure there is no pressure on the gown fabric. NZME videographer Hunter Calder was there filming it all.