I have been in contact with Whitby Museum since 2016 when I approached them with a proposal responding to their collection. In September the project was agreed by their trustees and I began my research visits in October. I will be visiting the museum every other week until they close for Christmas.
My exhibition will be shown in the new wing of the museum, which gives me lots of wall space and the option of a television screen for work in progress images and a table and chairs so I can have an object handling box for people to interact with.
The museum houses such a vast collection that so I decided to plan out my visits and focus on different areas of the museum each time. This visit focused on natural history and gave me the opportunity to explore the large collection of birds and mammals.
The Natural History section comprises specimens of animals and birds mostly representative of those species that occur in the local district including such rarities as Ivory Gull and Great Gipsy Shrike. Birds-of-prey, both diurnal raptors and owls are well represented, probably obtained as a result of gamekeeper activity over the 19th century.
The Narwhal skeleton has always fascinated me, even as a child. This vast piece is displayed above the natural history cabinets and this was the first time I have looked closely at the markings on the bones and the display methods used to hang the pieces together.
The beautiful hand painted sign is just one of the text samples from around the museum that I would love to include in my work.
Back in the studio I have started to create some embroidery designs using the Pfaff 6D software, the Portrait Stitch programme also helps me to select a colour palette from photographs I have taken. I’m hoping to work in mixed media for this project, something I haven’t explored for many years.
Whitby Museum is a great place to visit for everyone, they are open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm. I would allow at least two hours for your visit so you can spend time looking at the collection.