The tip of the iceberg

Like many museums and art galleries, only a small portion our collection is on display. Well, really, I should say only a small portion of YOUR collection is on display. The collection really belongs to the people of Bradford, and the staff here care for it on your behalf.

Items are kept in our stores for several reasons:

  • Some, like our costume collection are sensitive to light damage, and can only be out on display for short periods of time.
  • Some form an archive collection for consultation by scholars, students and artists.
  • We use some parts in our exhibitions. Like furniture made by Christopher Pratts which is being displayed in the ‘Other Trees’ exhibition at Cartwright Hall.

Bradford Museums and Galleries’ collection contains a varied array of objects spanning many subjects. From stunning costume catalogued in our Social History collection, to working steam engines adorning our Technology collection and prestigious paintings safely housed in our Fine Art collection.

Even though many of the objects we care for are not on display we endeavor to make them available to our visitors. On Wednesday we opened up our newly refurbished stores to visitors to give them a tour behind the scenes. Collections Officer, Dale Keeton, shocked attendees with the gory story behind one of our hats which bears a bullet mark and blood stain, whilst Social History Curator, Heather Millard showed us luxurious corsages made of feathers.

When exploring the underwear collection there were many “sniggers” and “ooooo’s”!

One of the jewels in Bradford’s crown is our costume collection. Our Collections team have worked hard cataloging and conserving some stunning pieces. Previously our collection of shoes has been stored in brown boxes and, due to their fragility, were unable to be taken out too often. Thanks to the work done on the collection we are now able to store them in conservation standard see-through plastic boxes so, should our visitors want to see them, we can take them out without causing any harm to the object.

The improvement of our collections store would not have been possible without the generous help of various groups. The Friends of Bradford Museums and Galleries, the Friends of Cliffe Castle and The Friends of Ilkley Manor House who have supported us financially. The NADFAS (National association of Decorative and Fine art societies) group, from Saltaire helped repack our shoes and hats into their new boxes.

Thanks everyone, we couldn’t have done it without you!

One thought on “The tip of the iceberg”

  1. Thanks to the staff for showing us round the expanded costume stores and sharing so many insights. We were glad to support this work and to hear about the next big project – gathering Bradford’s excellent print collection in its own room at Cartwright Hall.

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