Category Archives: Previous Heritage Volunteers

Projects completed this Year

Projects completed in 2017

Mothers’ Union Banner – St Peter’s Church, Barford

Mothers' Union Banner, St Peter's Church Barford

Since January this year, two of our most experienced and talented needlewomen, Diana Adams and Annette Hughes, have been working on the repair and conservation of the Mothers’ Union banner for St. Peter’s Church, Barford. The work included replacing and reworking areas where the threads had rotted beyond repair.

After 79 hours of painstaking work, the banner was completed in July and a Service of Re-dedication was held at the Church in September. The Arts Society Volunteers and Heritage Co-ordinator were invited to join members of the Mothers’ Union and the congregation, when the banner was paraded for everyone to see. Diana and Annette were presented with bouquets containing flowers of blue and white, the colours of the Mothers’ Union.

It was a special occasion because the Mothers’ Union members were delighted to have their banner repaired. One of them mentioned that the last time they had paraded it, they had felt like the poor relation because of the state it was in, but now they could parade it proudly.


The Lord Leycester Hospital – William Morris Wall hangings

In March the Society was approached by the new Master of the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick, Heidi Meyer, for help in conserving six William Morris Wall hangings currently in the 13th Chapel. The Chapel was damp and the plaster was flaking off onto the hangings. The Master was anxious that they would disintegrate further if no action was taken.

A meeting was held with Victoria Allan, Textile Conservationist, who examined the hangings and recommended that they were surface cleaned and packed for conservation storage, with a view to re-examining them at a later date.

Three of our Volunteers, Janet Ainley, Ruth Barton and Anne Hayward set to work under the guidance of Victoria, and, over the course of three weeks, the hangings were cleaned and safely stored. It is hoped that it will be possible to display some, or all, of the hangings at a future date.


Vols – Leamington Spa Museum and Art Gallery

Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

RLS DFAS volunteers

The group of volunteers at Leamington Art Gallery is now in its twelfth year and was delighted to be presented with a special award for their work over this time by the West Midlands Museum Volunteer Awards, which was presented at a ceremony at the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham. The awards were designed to recognise and reward the valuable work and significant contribution made by volunteers to the museum sector. The citation said that the award was given "for the breadth of work undertaken and the commitment required". It also mentioned the variety of skills provided by different volunteers. Their ongoing work reflects this diversity of talents.

Work continues on the parasols, some in excellent condition, but others very delicate and needing to be stored with great care. It was necessary to construct special boxes using Corriflute, which is a very adaptable material resembling corrugated card but more durable. Plastic nuts were used to secure one section to another. As most of the parasols are made of silk, the lid had to be the exact size to give a snug fit. It is essential to do this as old silk is very vulnerable to attack from insects.

The group has also been making garment covers and covered padded coat hangers for the costume collection, when they use calico. Before this can be used it has to be prewashed at a very high temperature to shrink it and get rid of any dressing.

Future projects will include work on quilts from the African Caribbean Society, plus newly acquired dresses from the costumes collection. The Art Gallery is seeking specialist advice on handling the quilts before beginning this work.

Vols – Alfred Herbert

Alfred Herbert Art Gallery Coventry


Over the last six months the Herbert group from The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa completed a project to curtain off taxidermy shelves to allow dust free open storage of the collection.

Following on from this, two members have been removing specimens from their boxes and securing them into foam stands. The taxidermy is now much more accessible and better stored.

Over winter the whole group had a change of scene and worked at the Herbert’s sister museum, Coventry Transport Museum. In the recently redeveloped museum many of the bicycles and motorbikes are on open display and were proving too much of a temptation to touch. The group designed and created clear saddle covers for the most vulnerable bikes and had a lot of fun working with the very noisy and squeaky plastic material.

Any spare time has been filled up with the mainstay of work for the museum by The Arts Society group – padded hangers. We now have a lovely set ready to use for the existing collection, or new donations.

Vols – Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

Leamington Museum

A group of volunteers from The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa have been working at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum since 2004. They have undertaken a number of collections care projects, most recently condition checking and mounting 18th and 19th century samplers. This involved using glass weights to carefully flatten the samplers and creating padded boards to sew them on to.  A selection of the samplers were then displayed in the museum.

The group are now condition checking and repacking a small collection of parasols. They are making detailed records of the condition of each parasol, taking photographs and making bespoke boxes to store them in. After this, the volunteers will make calico covers and padded hangers for items in the costume collection.

Before undertaking new projects, the volunteers receive training and are given guidance throughout. We are always happy to welcome new members to the team and three new recruits recently joined us. If you are interested in joining the volunteers at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator.

Vols – Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum


Our team of 4 volunteers are now entering their eighth year at the gallery.

During this time they have condition checked, recorded, photographed and repacked the Textile Collection and the Ethnographic Collection.

They are coming to the end of the Social History Collection, a large collection including many items of local interest. When this is complete they will return to the Textile Collection which, after 5 years, will need to be revisited.

Hundreds of artifacts have been checked and the two and a half hours spent every Monday morning are still much enjoyed by the team.

Vols – Historic Motoring Trophies

Historic Motoring Trophies

Vols-2015-Herbert-Museum_motoring-trophyVolunteers worked on a large collection of Historic Motoring/Transport Trophies, the earliest was 1797 a Coach not a Car! The entire collection was to be exhibited at The Coventry Transport Museum unfortunately it appears that funding has placed a stop for the moment on this project, but as you can see we did as always bring these exhibits back to life.

Vols – Alfred Herbert

Alfred Herbert Art Gallery Coventry


The Herbert group has finished off a series of projects including making exhibit covers/curtains for the Natural History store, improved padded coat hangers for the dress store and making cushions to support books when they are accessed from the collection.

The museum displayed an exhibition about Children’s Television from the 50s onwards. We helped out with the ‘Hands on’ artefacts for pre school visitors based on the ‘Rainbow’ theme – lots of tactile clouds, rainbow banners  and filling huge floor cushions with polystyrene beads -which is a whole story in itself !

Future activities may include making further calico bags for parasols and swords and checking and amending computer records of the collection.

Vols – Royal Regiment of Warwickshire Fusiliers Museum St. John’s Warwick

Royal Regiment of Warwickshire Fusiliers Museum St. John’s Warwick


The group examined over 100 uniforms for damage, vacuumed them carefully and replaced them in custom made covers. As these uniforms are mainly red they are particularly prone to insect infestation so regular cleaning and careful storage are very important. The group also checked and updated all records related to the uniforms.

Vols – Weapons

Weapons collection

vols_WeaponsOur weapons Group, having previously worked both at the Lord Leycester Hospital and at the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum at St Johns, Warwick, have also recently completed a project for The Herbert Gallery at the Guildhall in Coventry. The group received further training from Gallery staff in order to complete this project.