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Peeking behind the scenes of conservation

by Michelle Laverick

Wirksworth Heritage Centre has been working with Lincoln-based conservators WHConservation to both improve the condition of the museum collection and to help train a team of volunteers in basic conservation cleaning techniques.


Earlier this month some of us visited the University of Lincoln. WHConservation has been carrying out some of the hands-on conservation work in the laboratory spaces there alongside students studying for a BA(Hons) in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage.

We were able to visit while this work was going on – observing and speaking to the students. We also had a most enjoyable tour of the department as well as an introductory session on ‘conservation basics’. We’ll be able to put some of what we learnt into practice over the next few months when the conservators return to Wirksworth to supervise us undertaking the cleaning of certain items that will be on display in our new centre next year.

Also I’m pleased to announce that our raffle and “T’Owd Man Rocks Again” event helped raise more funds towards our cause. Once final bills are paid we should have made around £1,000. The Wam Bam Band did not disappoint and we were incredibly lucky to secure their services before their now legendary Christmas special. It’s been a while since I had a ‘pie and peas supper’, and was pleasantly surprised to discover I adore mushy peas with mint!

Finally, I want to let you know about our ‘Picturing Wirksworth’ event on the December 2 at Wirksworth Town Hall. We will have a small exhibition of photographs from the heritage centre collection, and we are hoping people would come along and share the memories they are sure to evoke.

With luck local people will bring along their treasured photos as well – perhaps there will be some hidden gems there of Wirksworth past. There will also be opportunity to see our very latest plans, with a chance to speak with the project’s interpretative designers, Headland.