Wednesday, 16 June 2021

We’re open!

Yay! After just over a year of being closed due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, MoDiP is now finally able to open up once again. And what a better way to celebrate than with a brand-new exhibition: Beside the sea.

This exhibition celebrates the fun of the seaside but also considers important issues such as inclusivity, material value and pollution. It has been an extremely interesting project to work on and we have acquired some amazing objects. 

Image ref: Martin White telescopic swimsuit, AIBDC : 008463
Image credit: MoDiP

One of my favourites is this lovely Martin White telescopic swimsuit (refer image above) in a gorgeous cherry red colour. It is shirred with parallel rows of lastex yarn to provide a stretch fit and is featured alongside a 1950s constructed costume as well as an example from the 1980s in lycra, all exploring the development of synthetic materials in swimwear.

Image ref: ‘Baited’ Hookpod, AIBDC : 008599
Image credit: MoDiP

In researching on the theme of ‘working on the sea’, we came across some fantastic inventions that are using plastics to improve the sustainability of the commercial fishing industry. One such object is the Hookpod, a polycarbonate capsule that covers the point and barb of hooks deployed in longline fishing. It will open once the hook has sunk to a depth beyond the range of diving birds, such as the albatross, thus preventing their incidental capture. The lovely people at Hookpod kindly put a demonstration baited squid on the hook to help explain how it all works.

Image ref: A Dacron sailcloth, AIBDC: 008508
Image credit: MoDiP

We have a case devoted to ropes, sheets and cleats (all things sailing), with a full-sized storm jib on display, made from Dacron, a polyester fibre with a PET waterproof layer. You can’t miss it as it is huge and bright orange in colour! It was quite a challenge to store because we don’t have a dedicated rolled textile storage rack but we managed to improvise by adopting an unused clothing rail and hung the sail over tubing wrapped in acid-free tissue.

Image ref: A backpack from Prada's Re-Nylon collection, AIBDC : 008417
Image credit: MoDiP

A particularly popular area of the collection involves those objects made from ocean plastics and Beside the sea provided the opportunity for the museum to develop this further. Sunglasses seem to be widely available as a product made from these recycled materials, but as we had already acquired a pair back in 2018, we were keen to see what else we could acquire. I love Prada’s backpack, made from Econyl, a nylon thread recycled out of ghost fishing nets.

Beside the sea is open 11 Jun 2021 - 3 Dec 2021.

Katherine Pell
Collections Officer

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