Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Preparing Wellcome amulets for loan

Later this year, approximately 120 amulets will be loaned for display at the Wellcome Collection's new Reading Room exhibit. 

The amulets selected are a curious assemblage of objects from Europe, South America, Africa and Japan that were considered by their owners as 'lucky' or able to offer protection. Included are mole's feet to protect from toothache, a sheep's heart stuck with pins said to have been used to break a spell cast by a witch over a farmer's cattle, miniature shrines, hands of Fatima, miniature shoes and an ash tree twig, used as an amulet for long life, to name a few. 

Making sense of such an eclectic mix planned for display in one showcase can be difficult. To make things easier staff from collections, conservation and technical services met with Wellcome curators to try out different arrangements of the amulets and plan how they would be displayed for the Reading Room. Using masking tape, we marked out on a table the dimensions of the display case and set about laying out the amulets in categories which linked them together. Fortunately, thanks to a previous project involving amulets from the collections (Small Blessings), there were already some themes highlighted which we could borrow for the Reading Room display. After an afternoon with the objects we agreed on a layout for the case:

The final case layout decided for the amulets © Pitt Rivers Museum

Our conservator, Jennifer Mitchell, will now prepare a condition report for each object and pack them in readiness for their travel to London in September for display at the Wellcome Collection.

Faye Belsey
Assistant Curator

No comments:

Post a Comment