Queen's University

Bader Fellow strives to expand display of museum textiles

 
2013-02-26

The latest recipient of the Isabel Bader Research Fellowship in Textile Conservation is spending the winter semester researching new ways to evaluate the condition of textiles in museums and galleries.

Patricia Ewer is working with a collection of over 2,000 articles of clothing dating from the early 1800s that are housed at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

 “My project involves developing a risk management system that ties in conservation and exhibition planning,” says Ms Ewer. “I want to address the misconception about textiles as being difficult to display which has been used to justify the downsizing of museum textile departments.”

Ms Ewer has served as a senior conservator for the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minnesota and as treatment conservation manager at Historic Royal Palaces in England. She is a long-standing member of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and the owner of Textile Objects Conservation in Minnesota.

The fellowship links two of Queen’s most unique resources, the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress and the Master of Art Conservation Program, Canada’s only graduate degree in conservation theory and treatment. During her residency, Ms Ewer has been sharing her professional and academic expertise with Master of Art Conservation students.

With the assistance of Brenna Cook, the Isabel Bader Graduate Intern in Textile Conservation, Ms Ewer is also treating a number of dresses that will be featured in an exhibition in 2014 on the high fashions of Agnes Etherington.

The Queen's Collection of Canadian Dress was started in the 1930s as an assortment of costumes for the Queen’s drama department. When historical dresses began arriving, however, it was transformed into a museum collection. The collection now contains more than 2,000 items dating from the early 1800s to the 1970s, and is housed in a climate controlled environment thanks to the generosity of benefactor Isabel Bader.

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