On Sunday 13 November the ACT Division of the AICCM held a Conservation Clinic at the Hall Heritage Centre.
The Hall Heritage Centre used to be known as the Hall Schoolhouse Museum and is housed in the old school buildings, some of which date back to 1910. It is looked after by a group of enthusiastic volunteers and houses a collection that includes items from the old school as well as many other historic objects from Hall and beyond.
The event had originally been scheduled for early 2020 but was cancelled twice due to the dreaded COVID.
Our team on the day included Natalie Ison (MOAD), Monica Connors (NFSA), Gerald Preiss (AIATSIS) and Ian Batterham (UC). Also present were representatives of HAGSOC, who provided information on family history research.
The day was wet and cold, and we were worried this might deter people. This fear was unfounded, and for the whole three hours we received a stream of interested people with fascinating objects to show us.
As a bonus, we had a variety of archival packaging materials to offer people. These were paid for by Blue Shield and the AICCM, from May Day funding earmarked for disaster-related events. We were able to place documents in sleeves, small fragile items in mini boxes and textiles in acid-free tissue packaging.
Every object brought to us was interesting, but some highlights were:
- a handwritten genealogy on parchment, which traced a family history back to William the Conqueror
- a beautifully embroidered christening gown
- some historic gold leaf created by the attendee’s ancestor
- an album of photographs from Japan from just after WWII, including images of Australian soldiers and the destruction in Hiroshima following the detonation of the atom bomb
- a vintage hunting waistcoat
- a mouldy hand-coloured family photograph from 1929–30
- a child’s ink drawing of an emu, with extensive dirt and foxing, that won a school competition in the early 1930s.
To cap off the day, the centre experienced a mini flood when the heavens opened at around 4pm. Even with umbrellas, we got drenched running to our cars.
The hosts were very happy with the event and hope to run it again in 2023.