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Rarely-seen historic items to be uncovered

Rarely-seen historic items to be uncovered

Saturday 14 September 2019

Rarely-seen historic items to be uncovered


From a policeman's summer helmet to a lifering from a ship that brought supplies to starving islanders... Some of Jersey's rarest and most interesting items have been taken out from behind closed doors for the public to glimpse for free.

The new 'Meet the Collections' series starts at 10:00 until 16:00 at the Francis Cook Gallery in Trinity, where the public will be able to view and interact with the items on display.

Jersey Heritage’s Senior Registrar Val Nelson said the new series will give islanders an opportunity to see and hear the stories behind a range of items usually kept in storage.

Pictured: Many of the items that people will see are usually stored in purpose-built repositories at Jersey Archive.

They have been carefully chosen by the Collections team, who look after over 750,000 objects, textiles, archaeological finds and archive documents, including paintings, maps, volumes, parchments and electronic files.

“We have hundreds of thousands of items in our care, which document the unique cultural, political, social and personal history of Jersey and its residents," she said. "We don’t always have an opportunity to share many of these with the public and ‘Meet the Collections’ gives us the perfect reason. The items we have chosen range from the beautiful and unusual, to the commonplace – but they all have a fascinating story to tell about Jersey’s past.” 

Some of the items on display include a men’s silk, hand-embroidered waistcoat from 1790 and a life belt from the SS Vega, the first Red Cross ship to reach Jersey with life-saving supplies in December 1944, an atlas from the early 20th century, and a once popular but now discarded item from the Police's summer uniform in the 1950s and 60s: the (in)famous white summer hat.

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Pictured: A helmet from the Police's summer uniform in the 1950s/60s.

There will also be talks by members of the Collections team and tours of the Object Store and Art Store. 

“We want to ensure that future generations can access both archival and museum material to learn more about the story of Jersey," said Ms Nelson. "However, the unique items that we store can be fragile. Some archives and objects have historic damage and the materials they are made from can deteriorate over time."

For this reason, her team are encouraging members of the public to 'Adopt an Object’ to help fund its conservation. 

"Vital conservation work has to be undertaken and by adopting an object, people can help us to ensure that these items survive and can continue being used by the public for research and put on display.” 

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Pictured: The Sir Francis Cook Gallery where the items will be on show.

Two further ‘Meet the Collections’ events will be held at the Gallery over the following months, both of which will include talks and tours. On Wednesday, 23 October, the theme will be ‘Militia and the Military Story’, and on Saturday, 23 November, it will be ‘Archaeology, from Ice Age to the Iron Age and Beyond’. All the events are free. 

Pictured top: Some of the Jersey Heritage pieces on display today.  

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