Monday, 20 June 2011

Making our horn collection effective

MoDiP was pleased to receive the Worshipful Company of Horners' collection of some 400 items of horn on long term loan last year and are now able to announce that we have received a grant from the Museums Association to make the collection more effective.
Horn is a themoplastic material which means that it becomes pliable when heated and can, therefore, be worked in a way similar to some synthetic plastics. Horn has been worked since paleolithic times but during the last century the craft declined. This led the Horners to adopt the emerging plastics industry in 1943 and it is for this reason the Company has chosen MoDiP, the only accredited museum with a
focus on plastics, with which to lodge its wonderful collection.

The aim of our Effective Collections grant is to increase understanding and appreciation of horn and its associated crafts and to increase access to this collection in particular. We wish to do this by lending small groups of artefacts to museums with a wide variety of specialisms including fashion and costume, military history, rural life, health and medicine, and portraiture. 

For example fashion museums might be interested in borrowing back combs, shoe horns, and brooches, whereas military museums might like to have the opportunity to show off a selection of powder horns.

Our hope is that this way a wide range of people, who, although not interested specifically in horn, will come to understand and appreciate its relevance and contribution
to their existing area of interest.

We are to be advised on this project by two consultants. Stuart Davies,who will lead in terms of curatorial expertise, and Caroline Reed who will lead in terms of methodology for reviewing the collection. You can find out more about Stuart at For information on Caroline's method please refer to:

Work will begin in earnest in July when the full team will meet for the first time. But if you could be interested in borrowing a small collection of horn material do get in touch.

Susan Lambert, (Head of MoDiP)

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