‘Flying the Flag’ and ‘Raising the Standard’
Two interlinked projects to improve the preservation, interpretation and access to banners and flags in museums across Devon and Cornwall, through South West Museums Development (SWMD).
The first phase was the development and delivery of ‘Flying the Flag’ project with SW Museums Development (SWMD) to improve the collection care, state of conservation and access to banners and flags in Devon and Cornwall through ‘surgeries’ and training days, 2013-2017, supported by The Pilgrim Trust.
The second phase was the conservation of flags and banners as part of ‘Raising the Standard’ a SWMD project to improve the research, interpretation and conservation of flags and banners for increased public engagement and supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
The projects to improve the preservation, interpretation and access to banners and flags in museums across Devon and Cornwall, were run through SW Museums Development, with Conservation Development Officer Helena Jaeschke ACR. This began with a 2012 survey to identify the need in museums for support in caring for banners and flags in their collections. The findings led to the development of ‘Flying the Flag’ funded by The Pilgrim Trust, to run ‘surgeries’ where museums could bring two flags or banners for condition assessment by a Textile Conservator, Morwena Stephens ACR, and where applicable a Paintings Conservator, Sophie Brummitt, and to be professionally photographed.
The survey and surgeries helped identify what Collections Care training and materials would be most useful for museums to meet the challenges of caring for their banner and flag collections. Training sessions were developed and delivered in the region bringing staff (paid and volunteer) from participating museums and historic houses together to share experiences and to benefit from practical training in caring for their flags and banners in storage and on display. Collection care materials were distributed during the training sessions, which demonstrated how they could be used. Several museums also had follow-up in-situ sessions to help them implement improvements to storage and display of their flags and banners.
SWMD developed ‘Raising the Standard’ to improve the research, interpretation, accesssibility and condition of banners and flags assessed in ‘Flying the Flag’ and with support from National Heritage Lottery Fund for these activities including community engagement events. I carried out the conservation of five banners as part of this project, working with Sophie Brummitt who conserved the painted areas. More information on the projects can be found by following the links below:
‘A Procession of Banners: Improving the preservation and interpretation of flags and banners in Devon and Cornwall, UK’. A lecture delivered as part of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Conservation Insights 2020 Series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeKTHAuW93Y
SW Museum Development project page: https://southwestmuseums.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/raising-the-standard/