November 2012

Historic costume is always very popular with Museum visitors, but displaying it safely involves a lot of preparation and pre-planning.

The costume displays in the large Island case in the centre of the Arts of Living Gallery and the wall cases in the Treasure, Trade and the Exotic Gallery in the Norwich Castle Museum were recently rotated. Rotated in the sense that the costume that was on display has been replaced. These rotations give the costume time to rest after being on display for approximately 4 years.

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Historic costume was not designed to be worn for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for several years. It was designed for occasional wear with periods of rest (when it was laundered usually). Displaying costume places huge strain on the structure of the garment such as the seams and the fastenings, it is therefore essential that the entire garment is fully and safely supported during its time on show.

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The images show 2 of the mannequins that are under the costume in the Treasure Trade and Exotic Gallery, and also an image of the mannequins dressed prior to being installed in the case.

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