Category Archives: Adventures in Collecting

Missing clock has reappeared!

This clocking in machine was thought to have been stolen in 1989… Today it has reappeared!

Missing clock reappeared!

Missing clock reappeared!

 

This machine would notify the employees when they were permitted to take breaks and leave work for the day. The clock’s chime appears to have been modified from mechanical to electronic. We are uncertain as to how an employee would clock in as it is different to other machines in our collection.

A few interesting facts concerning Monopoly

1930s Monopoly board

1930s Monopoly board

  • Object in question, from our collections: a Monopoly set from 1936
  • Monopoly was created by an American anti-monopolist Elizabeth Maggie Philips in 1903. She aimed to explain the single tax theory of Henry George (an American writer). The game was designed as an educational tool.
  • Originally named ‘The Landlords Game’

 

Monopoly money

Monopoly money

  •  Produced in the UK by licensed manufacturer, John Waddington of Leeds from 1936.
  • In 1941, the British Secret Intelligence Service approached John Waddington to create a special edition of Monopoly to help World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other tools for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners via the British Secret Service through fake charity groups.
1930s Monopoly board

1930s Monopoly board

 

 

 

Them Bones

Life is never boring in the Collections Team at Beamish! There is always something different to do. Today we had to move 2 jaw bones from a whale skeleton to the newly opened Eston Church in the Georgian landscape.

So we all trooped off this morning to move these huge bones from there storage location to their new display location. But this isn’t easy with such awkward and fragile objects.

IMG_3919

 

 

Here the team are carrying out the first jawbone

 

 

 

Then we had to load them into the van

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Then came the really tricky part where we had to fit them in the side door of the church. And these are really heavy bones!

Then the tricky part of fitting them into the church

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They will now be conversved before they are installed as a traditional gateway outside the church. Have you ever seen any other whale jaw bones being used as gate posts? We know there are several around the country like the ones at Whitby.

Beamish’s 20th century collections assistants: Second World War ARP First Aid Kit. Meg’s Diary.

This post details the processes involved when an item is donated to Beamish. In this case Meg processed a Second World War ARP (Air Raid Precautions) First Aid Kit (see photo below).

ARP (Air Raid Precautions) First Aid Kit with instruction card

ARP (Air Raid Precautions) First Aid Kit with instruction card

  • First of all every donor fills in a receipt officially giving the collection to Beamish.
  • Thursday 20th November 2014 – started listing the objects within the collection. Meg decided owing to the rare nature of the almost complete ARP First Aid Kit, the collection should be recorded in detail.
  • Friday 21st November 2014 – Completed listing and semi-permanently labelling each object. Depending on the object the semi-permanent labels are marked in pencil, black or white ink or sewn onto an object. Each donation is given a collection number (2014-184 in this instance). Individual items within the collection are sub-numbered (e.g. 2014-184.1) and an individual item can be separated into different parts for example .1a and .1b. This is so we can keep track of each individual object and have a good record of its appearance and size. Coincidentally item 2014-184.1BP was a bottle of Iodine B.P. ! Meg listed items from .1a to .1bx – that is a lot items in one collection!

Meg listing the objects within the ARP First Aid Kit.Meg listing the objects within the ARP First Aid Kit.

  • Monday 24th November 2014 – following listing and labelling each object is recorded on a Green Card, including a description, when and where the object was used and its estimated age.
  • Wednesday 26th November 2014 – Photographed and measured all 81 items! This is so we can identify objects when searching through the online catalogue and display images of our collection online.

Example of an object photograph. Elastoplast tin with instructions.Example of an object photograph. Elastoplast tin with instructions.

  • Thursday 27th November 2014 – today Meg started transferring the information recorded on the Green Cards onto the collections management system (KE-Emu).

Meg transferring data onto KE-EmuMeg transferring data onto KE-Emu

  •  Friday 28th November 2014 – continued to catalogue the donation onto KE-Emu.
  • Monday 1st November 2014 – Completed J. Now the ARP First Aid box is part of our collection and located in our stores.
Completed collection :)

Completed collection 🙂

This demonstrates that it can take one person 6 days to process just one donation!

At the moment the collections team at Beamish receive on average around 5 donations of objects every day.

Bottles of ointments and medicines in a removable compartment

Bottles of ointments and medicines in a removable compartment

Handmade dolls house furniture and accessories

This adorable collection of handmade dolls house furniture, reminiscent of DIY Blue Peter (BBC) creations, was donated to the museum in May 2015. The collection includes a pink bedroom suite, dining room furniture and two sets of drawers. 

The pink bedroom suite is made from a variety of household materials including; match boxes, cardboard boxes, polystyrene, paper fasteners, wood, bobbins, cupcake cases, plastic lids and miniature doilies. The pink dressing table also includes a mirror from a makeup compact – genius recycling! 

Handmade dolls house bedroom furniture and accessories. Made from everyday household materials.

Handmade dolls house bedroom furniture and accessories. Made from everyday household materials.

 The dining room furniture includes a wooden table and two chairs with yellow paper; chair backs, cushions and a matching table cloth. There are also handmade seasonal accessories – Christmas crackers (a personal favourite!) 

Handmade dolls house dining room furniture.

Handmade dolls house dining room furniture.

The two sets of drawers are constructed from a pile of Bryant and May’s match boxes, paper fasteners and polystyrene. They reflect the fashion of their time and are useful for storing dolls house nick-nacks!

Handmade dolls house white and floral patterned match box drawers.

Handmade dolls house white and floral patterned match box drawers.

Do you have any dolls house DIY memories? Perhaps you made other items out of everyday materials? The things you can do with match boxes, sticky back plastic, bottle tops and egg cartons!

Stop the Rot

Team Beamish

This week three members of our collections team were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to York to attend “Stop the Rot”: An introduction to collection care. It was held at The Quilt Museum and Gallery by the ‘Association of Independent Museums’. They met staff and volunteers from other museums across the North and spent the day learning about different approaches to collections management. The course, delivered by Jane Thompson Webb, covered how to identify the major causes of deterioration in objects in our collections and the best ways to limit the decay. They learnt Rthat the main agents of decay are Direct Physical Force, Theft and Vandalism, Fire, Water and Pests. They found that a lot of ways of protecting objects are not particularly practical for the kind of environment that Beamish is, particularly when objects are in exhibits, on site. Striving to keep collections in a moderate environment and having regular monitoring was deemed K&Rmost appropriate for our museum. The importance of testing fire alarms and having disaster plans in place was also noted. It wasn’t all doom, gloom and decay, however, they were also able to view the many beautiful quilts on display in the museum! They were really pleased to have the chance to attend the day and now feel further equipped in helping care for our brilliant selection of objects at Beamish, making sure they will be around for generations to come!

Easter Treat

Here’s an unusual Easter post – showing how in Durham in the 1950s industry carried on, holiday or no holiday!

77550

77550

These photographs from Beamish’s archive show workmen replacing a severely cracked winding drum crank over an Easter weekend at Silksworth Colliery around 1950.

77551

77551 – Detail of the fractured crank.

Object of the Day

Beamish’s collections team see a lot of hair-care products come through the door, but it’s not often that a hairdryer arrives complete with box and a wide range of accessories!

GS 169-2015.6

GS 169-2015.6

This 1970s Hoover Hair Dryer & Manicure set used one power unit to dry the user’s hair while simultaneously offering a nail manicure (the unit even had a shoulder strap for drying on the move! – well, within range of a plug anyway…)

GS 196-2015.6 Contents of the hairdryer set, showing power unit, flexible hose and drying cap, and assortment of combs and manicure tools.

GS 196-2015.6
Contents of the hairdryer set, showing power unit, flexible hose and drying cap, and assortment of combs and manicure tools.

1950s Housing

Today is the last opportunity to take part in the vote for which of nine publicly-nominated local 1950s semi-detached houses will be replicated at Beamish
(http://www.beamish.org.uk/vote-for-a-1950s-semi!/)
and to mark this occasion the Collections team would like to share a few gems from the museum’s photograph archive showing development of new housing in the Durham area in the 1940s/1950s. These images have been taken from the former Durham Advertiser collection.

72524 - General view of new housing being built at Pittington in front of the old Co-op store, 20th March 1959

72524 – General view of new housing being built at Pittington in front of the old Co-op store, 20th March 1959

26632 - Opening of new housing in Brandon, 20th September 1946.

26632 – Opening of new housing in Brandon, 20th September 1946.

67541 - General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. 4th August 1950.

67541 – General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. 4th August 1950.

67542 - General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. Note children in the foreground playing with a pedal car. 4th August 1950.

67542 – General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. Note children in the foreground playing with a pedal car. 4th August 1950.

And finally, home sweet home!

67663 - Mother father and child sitting beside a fireplace in a new house on Kirk Merrington Housing Estate, 6th February 1953.

67663 – Mother father and child sitting beside a fireplace in a new house on Kirk Merrington Housing Estate, 6th February 1953.

 

 

 

 

 

Bits of Paper

It’s been a while since we looked at Beamish’s ever-expanding ephemera collection, so here’s just one highlight from what has arrived at the museum this week.

GS 153-2015

GS 153-2015

‘Enjoy Potatoes in eighty-one ways’ was published in the 1950s by the Potato Marketing Board, presumably to take advantage of potatoes being a plentiful food source in the post-war austerity era. As the title suggests the booklet contains over 80 different food recipes involving potatoes ranging from the obvious (baked potato) to the slightly-less obvious (potato omelet), and the rather bizarre (potato gingerbread).

P1020802

The beauty of working in an open-air museum is that hopefully we’ll be able to try many of these recipes out as the 1950s town develops. In the meantime if anyone can think of more than eighty-one things you can do with a potato, please let us know…

 

From the Archive

To reflect the fact that 1) the weather is getting better and 2) we’re all good and ready for the weekend, here are a couple of choice photographs of a Girl Guide troop enjoying a weekend camp at Pockerley Farm in 1959. Pockerley Farm is of course better known these days as Beamish’s Georgian Hall!

82069 - Group of Girl Guide leaders enjoying the sun at Pockerley in May 1959.

82069 – Group of Girl Guide leaders enjoying the sun at Pockerley in May 1959.

82070

82070

 

Total Eclipse of the Sun

2001-94.2

2001-94.2

To mark the solar eclipse tomorrow (20th March), the busy Beamish collections team have found this gem produced for a similar eclipse on Wednesday 29th June 1927. This ‘Ecliptoglass’ sun shield has been very carefully protected in our stores (or every now and then it’d fall apart), and was issued by the Journal and North Star newspaper.  The user would hold the dark celluloid strip up to their bright eyes to ‘safely’ view the eclipse, though when we think about the damage that could do to your sight we get a little bit terrified…

Turnaround...

Turnaround…

Sadly we won’t be able to use the ‘Ecliptoglass’ tomorrow as there really is no safe way to look directly at an eclipse, but it’s certainly an interesting example of a newspaper not missing an opportunity for self-promotion!

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