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Fur, skin clothing, textiles, cordage, touchable exhibits and plans

Wednesday, 4 February, 2015 to Tuesday, 10 February, 2015
Linda Hurcombe
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
2 from Exeter, plus 10 others

Linda Hurcombe and Theresa Emmerich Kamper went to Denmark and Sweden, and Linda Hurcombe also went to Cardiff St Fagans. Both flew to Copenhagen and met the archaeologist Dr Ulla Mannering, curator of the Fur exhibition at the National Museum for a personal tour of the exhibition which included touchable samples and thermal imaging of visitors wearing fur coats to show their physical properties.

Exeter had a small role in this exhibition in that Theresa Emmerich Kamper had loaned the exhibit some of her experimental samples. We took the opportunity to document this via a photo of Theresa with Dr Mannering beside her experimental fur samples in the Danish National Museum. The fur clothing included an extremely large collection of ethnographic circumpolar region clothing of worldwide significance as well as addressing modern concerns with fur and the fashion industry. Both of us were stunned by the scale of the exhibition and the way it addressed complex issues. As the exhibition was closing shortly, we facebooked Exarc members to advertise this exhibition to anyone interested in hidework, traditional tanning, and skin clothing.

We also met with Dr Eva Andersson Strand at the Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen and discussed the way she had used experimental archaeology for her textiles research and Eva's and Linda's ideas relating to 3D scanning and printing as part of textiles research. We were given a tour of the CTR and met some of the other researchers.

From there we travelled by taxi to Foteviken as the light was going fast and we needed to see the outdoor facilities we were likely to use in the summer at Foteviken before it got too dark.
We met with Bjorn Jacobsen to discuss planned activities and the role of Exeter in crafts week in May 2015 where we would demonstrate and present openarch material as part of the Dialogue with Science roadshow. This discussion was pivotal in giving a shape and direction to our planned summer roadshow event. We returned to Copenhagen by train.

The following day we travelled by rail to Roskilde for a breakfast meeting with Ida Demant, one of the textile experts at Sagnlandet Lejre. We discussed the Falkirk tartan, the planned work at Lejre in the summer and the role of craft expertise in making different kinds of textiles as well as Ida’s recent and future projects.

After walking down to the Viking Ship museum on the waterfront we met with Marie Broen who had been using some of the touch project 3D prints as part of her work on activities with school children associated with the travelling Viking exhibition. We compared notes and exchanged views on how the 3D prints were being used by them as a stimulating way to engage children in story writing and how they the children then responded to seeing the same object in the exhibition as it was on loan from the National Museum of Scotland. We also met Carsten Hvid, the ropemaker and discussed the cordage project and the way ropes of different materials had performed during the sea voyages of their reconstructed ships.

This was a busy morning but we then travelled by taxi from Roskilde to Sagnlandet Lejre. There we met with Laurent Mazet over lunch to discuss planned activities and the role of Exeter in the Athra gathering at Sagnlandet Lejre July 2015 where we would demonstrate and present openarch material as part of the Dialogue with Science roadshow. The meeting offered useful clarification of how the ethos of the event as 'in-costume stone age participants' and the ‘science’ aspect of what we wanted to do would work together.

After lunch we took a taxi back to the Viking ship museum so that we could see the museum itself. The museum features reconstructed sections of Viking ships which the public can get into with examples of touchable elements and dressing up materials alongside the reconstructions. The same technique was to be used in the Viking exhibition planned in the National Maritime Museum Falmouth with some of the staff from each museum visiting each other as part of initiatives arising from the AHRC Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age. It was interesting to see these connections and transmission of ideas working across different museums.

The following day we met with Dr Anne Lisbeth Schmidt, the conservator responsible for the Fur exhibition at the National Museum and discussed her role and the curation and presentation of the ethnographic material with specialist discussion on the skin clothing from the north element of the exhibition.


Marie Broen of the Viking Ship Museum with...
Bjorn Jakobsen showing us the crafts area at...
Meeting colleagues at Roskilde Viking Ship...
Carsten Hvid showing some of the ropes at...