The Batavia tapestry

Melinda Piesse with her Batavia tapestry

Textile artist Melinda Piesse with her Batavia tapestry. Photographer Kristina Kingston, reproduced courtesy Melinda Piesse

Last week we unveiled a new large-scale embroidered work by Melbourne textile artist Melinda Piesse at the museum. Known as the Batavia tapestry (2017), it illustrates the tragic story of the wreck of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) flagship Batavia in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia, on 4 June 1629 and the sorry fate of the ship’s company.

Continue reading

Prevention is better than cure.

Photo of the

Textile conservator showing a flag with a damaged corner.

“Preventing textiles from damage by storing them appropriately is better than spending time repairing them”.

This is the guiding philosophy behind the textile storage project at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Three main storage formats have been implemented to minimise handling. Textiles are mainly hung, rolled or placed in boxes with internal supports to protect the collection.

However, when damage has already occurred, it is necessary to repair textiles to prevent further damage prior to rolling or storing them.

The conservator stabilises areas of fabric loss.

It is important to stabilise areas of fabric loss to prevent damage.

Large flat textiles like banners and flags are interleaved using acid free tissue then rolled carefully onto archival cardboard rolls, covered using Dacron or polyester felt followed by cotton/polyester Interlock or Stockingette. The outside of the roll is covered with a final layer of acid-free tissue.

The conservator shows rolled storage method.

Roll storage method for large, flat textiles (Eg. banners and flags)

Clothing and uniforms are hung on Dacron padded coat hangers covered using cotton Interlock while swimwear and accessories are stored separately in boxes or grouped together, separated on cardboard shelving within boxes.

Swimwear is stored on archival cardboard shelving within archival boxes.

Swimwear is stored on archival cardboard shelving within archival boxes.

Collars are stored in boxes using internal supports to soften folds.

Collars stored in boxes using internal supports to soften folds.

Hats are stored separately on powder coated metal hatstands using internal supports constructed using Dacron padded Ethylene foam supports covered using cotton Interlock.

Hats are stored separately using internal supports on hatstands.

Hats are stored separately using internal supports on hatstands.