Our crowdfunding campaign for packaging the objects from our Franklin collection has reached its £1000 target! A huge thank you to everyone who has donated – your support is much appreciated.
The Franklin objects have made us realise that we have other fabulous, exciting – and sometimes downright strange – objects in some of our other collections, which should also be properly packaged in museum quality boxes. So we’ve decided that any extra money we receive through our crowdfunding campaign will be spent on looking after those items. We’re sure to discover more of them as we start hunting through our collections, but to give you an idea of the kind of objects we have:
An Ashbourne Shrovetide football from the 1930’s:
A beautiful piece of embroidery from 1937, showing Bakewell Market Place:
And a collection of textile samples, including this elephant pattern:
If you’d like to help us look after these and other objects (we’ll blog about more of them as we uncover and re-package them), then you have until 3.00 pm on Friday 19 July to donate on our crowdfunding page.
In our Franklin collection we’ve come across this scrapbook:
It was most likely put together by Lady Jane Franklin herself, although we don’t know whether she gave it the rather fabulous title of ‘Arctic scraps’. It is full of newspaper cuttings, prints, and other material related to the efforts to find the missing expedition.
It also includes posters offering rewards for helping in the search: Lady Jane herself offered £3000 to whaling ships willing to take part and the UK government even offered £20,000. The National Archives has a handy currency converter, which tells us that this equates to approximately £240,500 and £1,6 million in today’s money!
We don’t have a £20,000 reward on offer, but we do have a selection of rewards for you to choose from if you donate to our crowdfunding campaign. And if you choose the Behind the Scenes Tour, we’ll even add in a cup of tea and some nice biscuits…
As it’s World Chocolate Day today, here is a gorgeous Russian chocolate box, decorated with illustrations of Hans Christian Anderson tales:
There are even still some – sadly empty – wrappers:
The box is from the archive of John R. Biggs (1909-1988), a distinguished wood engraver, typographer and graphic designer from Derby. Biggs was appointed Head of Graphic Design at Brighton School of Art in 1951, a post he retained until his retirement in 1974. Throughout the nineteen seventies and eighties he traveled extensively in Russia and the Baltic States, exploring Eastern European art and design. We have his entire archive, including his tools and many of his wood blocks; you can find it all in our online catalogue.
We’re still crowdfunding! So go on, have a chocolate (it’s allowed today) and donate on our crowdfunding page.
Within the collection of objects that we’ve called ‘Lady Jane’s Museum’ there are three beautiful fans which may have belonged to Lady Jane Franklin or to the Gell family from Hopton Hall. According to an expert at The Fan Museum in Greenwich, the oldest one dates from the seventeenth century:
In the earlier part of the seventeenth century the most commonly used fans were ‘fixed’ and consisted of feathers set into a handle. Later on in the century folded, hand-painted fans, such as the one above, gained in popularity; by the end of the century the folded fans had completely superseded the fixed ones.
Next is an early eighteenth century fan; by this time folding fans were very popular and were being made all over Europe and imported from the Far East:
The third fan dates from around 1805-1810 and is a brisé ivory fan. This type of fan consists only of decorative sticks, with no pleated fabric attached:
The sticks of brisé fans are usually intricately carved and held together with a ribbon which is either glued to each stick, or – as in this case- threaded through pierced openings. The carvings were meant to give the illusion of filigree or lace.
Our fabulous fans are in great condition considering their age and we’ll heed the Fan Museum’s advice by storing them closed in museum boxes. If you’d like to help us look after them, as well as the other objects in Lady Jane’s Museum, you can donate on our crowdfunding page or call our reception on 01629 538347.
A week and a half into our crowdfunding campaign we’ve already raised £565! Every little nudge that will get us closer to our £1000 goal is much appreciated.
I’ve just cleaned and repaired this amazing map of the Arctic; it’s from an 1848 printed copy of the instructions Sir John Franklin was given for his expedition.
This is the repaired map:
While moving some of our outsize items to more suitable shelves last week (a seemingly endless job), I came across an unusually thick volume (D4984/11/1). I don’t normally look at the records I’m moving – I would never get anything done if I did! – but occasionally I allow my curiosity to get the better of me and I removed the packaging:
I’m sure you’ll agree it’s big! When I opened a random page, it became clear that this is a pattern book, with some lovely fabric samples:
We have other pattern books in our collection and they’re always a pleasure to look at, although most have a wider variety; the samples in this book are all very delicate and in pastel colours. Looking at some other pages, I was surprised to find examples of metal fastenings and some kind of metal rods – definitely not something I’d come across before:
And then right at the back of the book it all goes very feminine again, with examples of pretty trims and bows:
Intrigued, I looked in our catalogue when I got back to my office: it is indeed a pattern book, dating from the late nineteenth century, from an Ashbourne company called Richard Cooper and Co. Have you guessed what they made?
The Derbyshire Times has a big article about our crowdfunding campaign and did you catch us – very briefly – on East Midlands Today on Wednesday evening? Great to see so much interest!
And we’ve had another wonderful comment from a supporter:
‘Cultural history is very important and we should do everything necessary to preserve our knowledge of it’
Will you be next to help us preserve our cultural history? Then support us on our crowdfunding page or by calling our reception on 01629 538 347.
Only a few days into our crowdfunding project and we’ve already reached nearly £200! A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, and especially for the lovely comments you’ve left behind, such as:
‘Because the past is as important as the future.’
‘Real history is vital in the midst of meaningless memories. Support this venture for future generations.’
If you agree, then do have a look at our video and support us on our crowdfunding page.
Or you can call our reception on 01629 538 347 and donate over the phone.
This log book from 1821-1822 records the last months of Sir John Franklin’s first independent land expedition to the Arctic (1819-1822), where he intended to travel from Hudson’s Bay to the mouth of the Coppermine River in Coronation Gulf.
It took two years before the expedition came within sight of the sea and only a brief survey of the coast could be undertaken before the expedition had to return because of lack of supplies. Unfortunately, the group then found themselves stranded in the ‘Barren Lands’ west of Hudson’s Bay and were near death when they were rescued by an Indian Chief, Akaitcho. During the months covered by this log book, many members of the 34-strong expedition died of starvation.
Did you get it from our teaser? It showed us having a go at shooting a video to go on our crowdfunding page. Yes, we’re diving into the 21st century and are starting a crowdfunding campaign for the objects in Lady Jane’s Museum. As I’ve mentioned before, Lady Jane Franklin kept some of her most precious mementos in a small museum at her home, where she would show them to visitors. All these lovely objects came to us jumbled up in a box, together with objects kept by the Gell family from Hopton Hall (the family Eleanor Franklin, Lady Jane’s stepdaughter, married into).
Lying loose in a box isn’t very good for any of them, as they are moving about and damaging each other, so we want to package them in such a way that they are safe, but still together as one collection. We’d also like to hire a professional photographer to take high quality photographs of them all, which we can then add to our online catalogue so everyone can see them. Through crowdfunding we want to give people from all over the world the chance to be a part of our Discovering Franklin project and help us look after this amazing collection.
There’s more information on our crowdfunding page, where you can watch that video and find out why we’re not asking for boats…