Conservation Blog

Norwich Shoe Conservation

July 2011

Conservation work on shoes for the Norwich Shoe Gallery at the Bridewell Museum continues apace. There will be approximately 160 shoes, boots, sandals, slippers and heels in this gallery alone. Each shoe is measured and a paper foot-print template created to aid mount making. Whilst taking these measurements, it is a good time to closely examine each object and asses its conservation needs.

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This may include re-shaping if the shoe has become distorted. This is carried out in a humidity chamber (large Really Useful Box with the Ultrasonic humidifier). Shoes/boots are placed in the chamber and the humidity slowly raised to approximately 75% to relax material and enable it to be manipulated safely. The shoes are then gradually reshaped using acid free tissue puffs or wodges to support the correct form.

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It may be that the shoes are also soiled or dirty and require gentle cleaning using soft brushes and gentle suction with a Museum vacuum cleaner. Structural or decorative components such as the in-soles or the diamante stones on heels may have become detached and these will be re-attached with a conservation approved adhesive.

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The next phase for us is to produce internal mounts in consultation with the Display team, so that the sandals and long boots in particular, can be displayed safely with what appears to be minimal support.

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