Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A visit by Friends of the East Dorset Heritage Trust

Thursday 20th January 2011 saw a group of visitors from the Friends of the East Dorset Heritage Trust to MoDiP and the Gallery at AUB. This was the first time we had met with this group and I am sure they didn’t really know what to expect from a Museum of Design in Plastics.  Our current exhibition Nature’s Plastic: Artefacts from the collection of the Worshipful Company of Horners, was a pleasant surprise for them I believe. Like us, I think they found the material intriguing, enchanting and a little unsettling. They were intrigued to hear horn described as a plastic but came to understand that it is worked in the same way as its synthetic counterparts and so is considered to be a natural plastic.

 They were enchanted by the workmanship in some of the more decorative pieces such as the 19th century back combs, the pressed and decorated snuff boxes and the etched beakers and powder horns.

And unsettled? Well, perhaps they were a bit more reassured by the explanation that much of the raw material is a by-product of the meat industry, but there are still stark reminders that the material is animal in origin, being greeted by Rufus, the head of a ram set with a silver snuff box, is a case in point.

After spending some time viewing the exhibition we talked about MoDiP’s other collections and the work that we do here at the AUB and then delivered our visitors to The Gallery, via the coffee shop, to continue their visit by viewing the newly opened Mister Sixties Philip Townsend’s Portraits of a Decade exhibition.
A happy morning well spent and the feedback was very positive. Perhaps we will meet with more of the group some time in the future.

Pam Langdown (Collections Manager MoDiP)

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