They were a 108-year-old Dorset Box Wagon, known locally as the Yetminster Wagon, and a 2.6m by 3.3m painting of The Bond Family.
“This is a very exciting time for us all, as after nearly four years of moving objects out of the museum we are beginning to move some back in,” said Dr Jon Murden, director of the Dorchester-based Dorset Museum. “They are very fragile objects, so a lot of thinking and planning has taken place to ensure it’s done with great precision.”
The objects will form part of the new People’s Dorset Gallery, which will celebrate over 500,000 years of the county’s history. They are part of a collection of key items that are currently being conserved, made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Working closely with conservators Mark Holloway and the IFACS Bristol team, director of collections and public engagement, Elizabeth Selby, said, “We are very fortunate to be working with specialists in the industry to conserve a number of objects to help continue to tell the story of Dorset for many years to come.
“The aim of conserving any object is to preserve as much of the original as possible and the process for both the Box Wagon and The Bond Painting has revealed intricate detail and original colouring showing them at their very best. Wagons in Dorset were particularly known for their decoration and craftsmanship, so it’s amazing that our visitors will be able to admire this for the first time.”
Mark Holloway, a freelance conservator from Exmouth, who has had the honour of conserving the wagon over the past year said, “During the conservation, it gave me the opportunity to really study and investigate the detail of the wagon, how it was constructed, how it deteriorated and how it was repaired during its working life. All these finding are recorded and will be kept as part of the historical record for the object in the new museum.”
The redevelopment of the museum was in full swing prior to the coronavirus outbreak, with areas of the site nearing completion. Overseen by the Dorset-based construction company, Acheson, the base build construction and floors are in, and much of the historic building has been restored including the new shop and café space.
The museum will re opening next year.
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