Give Us A Twirl - Museum Circulates Uniform Collection
Wednesday - March 14, 2018
A North Yorkshire museum has launched a new online uniform display, enabling viewers to see key pieces in the round.
The Green Howards Museum has created 360 degree rotations of ten of the most precious items from their uniform collection as part of their ‘Textiles with Tales’ project. Visitors to the museum’s website are able to view the uniforms, some of which are currently not on public display. The online gallery also includes biographical information about the original wearer of each uniform, as well as
background information about the historical context, detailed measurements and pattern information.
“We were awarded Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Funding which is allowing us more opportunities to bring our uniforms to a wider audience - opening up our collection to museum visitors, as well as individuals with specific interests,” explains Director and Curator, Lynda Powell. “We have more than 1000 items of uniform; it’s impossible to display them all, but they form a very important part of our archive. The quality and significance of our uniform collection is well known within military and specialist circles; there’s less awareness in other sectors, but no reason for that to continue to be the case, and our digital project has made these special uniforms available for all to see.”
As well as the online gallery, the two year uniform project involves a range of activity including improved storage of archive uniforms and specialist staff training. A team of dedicated volunteers has worked to create more than 40 bespoke mannequins for uniforms currently on display in the museum in the centre of Richmond’s market place.
The museum team worked with York based web company, Maraid Design, and professional photographer, Peter Byrne, to create the online uniform gallery.
Some of the uniforms are incredibly rare, such as a complete private soldier’s uniform from the time of the Crimean War, and a highly embellished volunteer militiaman’s patrol jacket from the mid 19th century.
“This was a really interesting job,” says photographer Peter Byrne. “Firstly the uniforms are fascinating, and secondly there are a number of technical problems to be solved during the shoot. The uniform needed to stand perfectly straight, spin on an axis, and we needed to turn it in increments of 36 to one full rotation. The lens of the camera also needed to be exactly in line with the centre of the dummy so there was no wobble on the final 360 degree spin.”
Photo: Director and Curator, Lynda Powell, pictured on the right, with Collections Assistant Zoë Utley (who rotated each of the ten uniforms by 10 degrees 36 times during the photography process) and volunteers who have worked to redisplay uniforms for the new online gallery