Lindsey Holmes, Museum Placement Award 2008

Lindsey Holmes worked part time on the costume collection at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum between July and November 2008

I started by making an overall assessment of the documentation and storage of the costume collection at Ayscoughfee before identifying items with potential for being transferred to the new educational handling collection. I also searched for any items with a connection to Ayscoughfee Hall and the First World War, which was the chosen period for a series of education performances to tie in with the 90th anniversary of the armistice in November. I discovered some excellent examples of locally worn dress from this period and some thought-provoking stories about people living in Spalding at this time.

From this, I developed a script, sourced props, and developed characters and costumes with help from other local museums and organisations. Local actors and the Museum’s management team took part the final performance. I also played a small part, giving me a first-hand opportunity to observe visitors’ reactions.

After the performances, I chaired a discussion with members of the public explaining how the project grew out of the stories discovered in the Museum’s costume collection. I also led a discussion with visitors to the performance who gave their feedback to the experience and collection feedback. The final part of the project is a small exhibition showing items identified in the collection alongside my research drawings and photographs and a reproduction of a piece of costume.

I have been trying to develop a specialism in costumes for performance in a museum setting and this project gave me the opportunity to develop this in a practical project with the full support of Ayscoughfee Hall Museum. The feedback has heavily influenced my direction in my future direction and I now want to be involved in all aspects of the projects I work on. It has given me the opportunity to develop new skills which will assist my future work in this area.

I hope to develop theatrical costumed performance in museums and heritage settings through my final MA project and to continue to develop work in this area. I hope to continue to experiment and develop new ideas and techniques.

This work would not have been possible without the support of the Costume Society and the tireless work of the Museum staff and our partner organisations.

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