Early days & Interesting Finds
A blog dedicated to the discoveries and interesting finds during the decant of Blythe House . . .
As most know, the V&A will be vacating Blythe House by the end of March 2023. The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum Group and the British Museum all store artefacts at Blythe House each needing to plan and prepare their objects to move into new homes by this date. Each Museum is individually planning its own ways to pack and decant its collections. Reviews and audits of collections and non-collections are underway, and the scanning and photographing of material has already started in some areas. Before objects can be moved they all have to be carefully wrapped and packed and the information on our database has to be updated so we have a robust audit trail.
For the last 6 months a small team of V&A Technicians, including myself, have begun the lengthy task of assessing objects ready for the move in 2023. Blythe House stores an incredible sum of objects, in terms of style, technique, materials and size. These are the sort of things I am continually thinking about during the decant process here at Blythe.
There are many more steps involved than just going ‘from A to B’ to ensure the collections are moved to high standards and with the utmost care. This includes having all digital records up to date and to be fastidious in my object assessments, it’s important to be as detailed as I possibly can be. The decant of the Blythe is a real team effort, which is involving staff from different departments as well as the incredible volunteers.
Theatre and Performance
Since the beginning of the Advanced Works project, I have been involved in the packing, auditing and photographing of the extremely varied costume collection in the Theatre and Performance Department currently held at Blythe House. There have been some wonderful objects hidden within the rolling racks and some really exciting finds that I commit to sharing with you via this platform.
As the months have passed by I have become very fond of the objects that surround me in the department. It’s very rare that a day that goes by without learning something new, whether it’s researching theatre genres that were unknown to me, costume making techniques (gunking is a good one!) or standing back in total awe at a costume worn by one of my musical heroes. It is a wonderful collection and I feel lucky to be playing a part in its second big move in the last 15 years.
Fashion and Textiles
In future posts, I will be giving you a run-through of all the current decant projects happening here at Blythe, showcasing the unique and interesting objects I have discovered in the archives all whilst working towards a substantial decant project that will change the history of the way we preserve and share the V&A’s objects.