To celebrate the new Wessex Gallery, the Salisbury Museum held a day of events for the public. We had a wonderful spot on the front lawn, which was great for displaying our rainbow of natural dyes – especiually as it was a very good dyeing day, with many of the colours working better than expected. It was great to be able to show how loom weights and spindle whorls are used, as there were archaeological examples of them in the new gallery.
Our first week-long event! It was very hot all week, and the tents which we brought in case of rain were used for shade instead. We were showing the story of cloth and teaching practical fibrecraft skills to primary school groups (years 3 to 6), a college group and a group of “the stitchers”, who volunteer for the museum making childrens costumes. A highlight of our experience was to be able to work with such a great group of museum volunteers over the week, who looked after the schools very well indeed, and helped our busy days run smoothly.
On the afternoon of the first day, we were given a sheep, which has been in one of the museum galleries for about 20 years, and they wanted to get rid of her! We’ve named her Gladys. She was very useful explaining to children where wool comes from, and we’ll do our best to give her a good home.
It was also great for the visitors to be there for so long, as we had time to set up some of the more complicated secondary coloured dyestuffs, which the groups visiting on Thursday and Friday really appreciated.
We were helping to give schoolchildren sneak peeks of the new Archaeology of Wessex Gallery.