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The museum’s Terrace Café will make you a beautiful meal, but this week, they also lent a hand to conservation! This horsehair and silk doll’s bonnet is undergoing conservation treatment in the textile lab this week. The fancy silk bow with multiple loops was barely recognizable with all its loops flattened and sagging. Usually, these kind of bows (which we encounter pretty often on historic dress and hats) are treated with small tubes of paper or mylar which are inserted into each loop to hold the correct rounded shape while the bow is gently steamed and then allowed to dry in the “fluffed” arrangement.
The doll’s hat presented a challenge because these loops were much too small and fiddly to work a paper or mylar tube into, especially with so many loops. Instead, assistance was recruited from the museum café! The café supplied some drinking straws which could be trimmed to short lengths and inserted into the loops with tweezers. For slightly larger loops, sections of coffee stirrers could be added to help fill it out. This conservation-café collaboration is just another way ALL the museum’s departments are always working together in our mission to engage our community through art. Thanks for the help, café!