Academics, writers and artists have long been fascinated by the interface between the fabric of language and the language of fabric. The word textile describing all forms of cloth comes from the Latin textus,
the past participle of texere, to weave; also from textus comes text, the wording of anything written or printed. Many of the terms we use to describe our interactions with words are derived from this common
linguistic root and numerous expressions associated with reading and writing are drawn from the rich vocabulary of cloth.
This year we decided to explore this concept to throw a different light on our wonderful collections and to involve all the various teams in constructing an exhibition that would encompass the whole museum.
Sherborne itself was founded on cloth manufacture and is also renowned as a centre for education so this topic seemed particularly appealing.
Thinking about this language of construction and deconstruction - we weave a narrative, spin a yarn, follow a thread of thought, stitch together an argument, we knit, suture, tie up loose ends, tailor,
gather, fashion, fabricate a lie, embroider the truth, mesh, trim, stretch, wrap, unfold and unpick. Problems can be viewed as knots and tangles, we lose the thread or find holes in the plot; we also unravel,
tease and iron out creases (or we can be kept on tenterhooks); we patch things up after an argument.
All through the museum you will be able to see artefacts relating to this theme, from the Welsh slate weaving combs and bone pins in the Gibb Gallery, the 1820 address to King George IV from the townspeople
of Sherborne, the handwritten note from Thomas Hardy in support of our 1905 Pageant, the Bishop’s Bible and the poignant Unfinished Quilt. The lives and stories behind the artefacts from our document and
costume collection are like spun threads, knitted and interwoven into the fabric of our community.
Sherborne Remembers is an ongoing project to examine and record the impact of the First World War upon the town of Sherborne and its neighbouring villages. Volunteers are currently in the process
of compiling detailed biographies for each of the men recorded on the Sherborne town memorial, and aim to bring them together for publication in due course. It is anticipated that the biographies
will contain details such as the parentage and family background of each individual; their employment before the war; their connection to the town, or residence on the outbreak of war; and the
circumstances surrounding their death.
The names of the men we are researching can be found here (PDF document), together with a separate list of those casualties who are yet to be identified. We would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has, and is willing to share, information about any of those featured - whether in the form of photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper cuttings, or family stories - so that we can build a full and accurate account of their lives and service.
A permanent exhibition will also be mounted in the Marsden Room in late 2018, which will further explore the impact of the war on the local area. Themes to be explored will include the work of the local Red Cross hospitals, conscription and conscientious objectors, and the work of the urban and rural military tribunals. It is hoped that some First World War artefacts will also be on display.
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