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Vintage clothes in Grantham museum exhibit

Volunteers: Retail Director Alison Paxton and Exhibitions Director Christine Robbins are both volunteers at the museum.
Volunteers: Retail Director Alison Paxton and Exhibitions Director Christine Robbins are both volunteers at the museum.

Visitors to Grantham Museum can take a trip down memory lane as part of the venue’s latest travelling exhibition.

Staff worked with the East Midlands Region Embroiderers Guild to create ‘Fashion, Past, Present and Future’, which showcases different ways to use embroidery and textiles.

Anyone that attended one of the embroiderers guild workshops was invited to submit an embroidery piece to be exhibited across the country. As a result, garments ranging from dresses and jackets to ponchos and corsets are all on show at the museum until September.

One dress, dubbed ‘homage to my mum’, is made out of muslin cloth, which was used by the creator’s mum when she worked as a dressmaker.It is not just garments being exhibited – scrapbooks, pockets, bags and canvases are also on show.

Retail director Alison Paxton has volunteered at the museum since it reopened as a charity in 2012. She said: “A lot more people have become interested in embroidery recently. I think the Great British Sewing Bee has alot to do with it.”

Exhibitions director Christine Robbins helps organise each exhibit. She said: “When there is a travelling exhibition, everyone is invited to put their own spin on it. Being a museum, we thought it would be good to put a historical angle on it.”

Notions Antiques Centre on the High Street stepped in to help and donated a range of vintage clothing including a dress worn by the lady maid of Lady Betty Manners at Belvoir Castle, who wore it at many high profile events. She also donated a velvet dress from the 1940s, a wiggle dress, a fur coat and a house coat.

As well as displaying clothing, visitors can also dress up and share their most embarassing fashion faux pax. One visitor wrote: “I made some flower power trousers in the sixties but I didn’t have the confidence to wear them out in the end.” The comments didn’t just stop at clothing, with another visitor adding: “My afro perm in the seventies remained on my passport photo for the next 10 years.”

As well as the travelling exhibits, the museum also hosts permanent exhibitions, including D-Day, Dambusters, Margaret Thatcher and Sir Isaac Newton.

Since reopening as a charity five years ago, the museum relies entirely on a team of volunteers and community donations to keep it running. Alison said: “It costs £25,000 a year to run. We hold a variety of events, talks and workshops to try and raise some of the funds, but we are reliant on community donations.”

Meanwhile, local artist Lyn Hogan is bringing her cyantype prints to a two-hour workshop on Saturday, June 24. Open to anyone over the age of 10, the workshop is free to attend and materials are provided. If you have something you’d like to copy, take it along. Spaces are limited so early booking is advisable.

If you would like to volunteer at the museum, email info@granthammuseum or call 01476 568783.


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