After several successful years helping with the storage and conservation of the costumes in the Blandford Fashion Museum we are now moving on to a new project for 2012. It was brought to my attention that the Altar frontals at St James’ Church Kingston needed conservation. They had approached a Conservation Studio but the cost was prohibitive for such a small congregation. Step forward W&BDFAS. We are not going to fully restore the Altar frontals but conserve them to a level that they can be used and enjoyed at future services. Anyone interested in helping, please see below.

The Heritage Volunteers are a group of members who undertake projects within the community to help preserve our heritage. We have a vast wealth of historic houses, churches, museums and gardens, including books and paintings, textiles and armour. Lack of funding and of staff resources among many of these Host Organisations means that there is a pressing need for volunteers to assist in those tasks essential for the preservation of our heritage. For individuals, becoming a Heritage Volunteer offers the opportunity to learn new skills, have direct access to historic items, besides making new friends and working alongside other dedicated volunteers and professionals. Our society has been involved with the Blandford Fashion Museum for three and a half years now, meeting once a month and working on various projects relating to the care and storage of the costume collection. We started with the collection of over one hundred and fifty parasols and umbrellas that needed to be stored museum conservation standard. That involved designing and making individual calico cases for each item. It then had to be recorded with two numbers, one a ‘working’ number and then an ‘accession’ number. The parasols were then carefully packed in special conservation boxes lined with supports. The next task was to catalogue the wedding dress collection, make padded hangers and collar supports for the 19th Century and early 20th Century evening capes and make bespoke dress bags for any wedding dresses that did not have one. Our present project is to accession and label the collection of evening bags.