Wirksworth volunteers learn key skills for heritage work

by Sue Cooper

We have now pretty much cleared the furniture and other non-museum items from Webster’s, with some sent to Bamford’s salerooms in Derby and the remainder sold at Wirksworth’s very first ‘Antiques in the Street’ event last weekend. This went really well for its first year and will hopefully become a regular thing in Wirksworth’s calendar. It enabled us to sell quite a few unusual items from the barn including very old flat irons and a 1943 soldier’s greatcoat but also some items we couldn’t identify. Sadly, the greatcoat included the maker’s name but not that of its owner so we cannot be sure it belonged to Mr Webster.

Things are hotting up a bit for the volunteers. At the end of June, Ruth McKew from our interpretation consultants, Headland, held a morning briefing and training session at Derby Museum’s World Cultures Gallery concentrating on the researching and text writing that will be required before we open again next year. Quite a few of us were very keen to get involved and there were more who couldn’t attend because of holidays though they should get another chance later.

On top of that, the volunteers are signing up for a series of training courses at Derbyshire Records Office, in Matlock, on issues like care of the collection and proper archiving procedures. One of the problems this should help with is that old documents can be very difficult to read as letters were formed differently in the past and words used at the time are often unfamiliar. We should all be very knowledgeable when we are back working with the public in the new centre. It is not only the volunteers who have starred this month. Lucy, our collections manager, has been filmed for a future interlude piece for Bargain Hunt. It will feature the long history of Marsden’s and showing photographs of their items in our collection. Sadly we don’t know when the programme will be shown but the producers must be pleased that we will now be watching each week.