Collection Blog

Conservation of the Yetminster Wagon

April 29, 2020

Meet Mark, he’s one of our Conservators currently looking after a very special object that will be on display in the new Museum – the Yetminster Wagon.

“My name is Mark Holloway and I am a freelance Conservator based in Exmouth, Devon. My work covers a wide variety of objects predominately from social and industrial collections in museums.

I have been a Conservator for nearly 40 years now and feel very privileged to have spent my working life conserving historical artefacts.

Last Autumn I was commissioned to undertake the conservation of the Yetminster wagon built-in 1912 which would form part of the new museum displays.

The aim of conserving an object is to preserve as much of the original as possible and to reveal details and finishes that may be hidden under layers of surface dirt.

Although the Yetminster wagon was a challenge, due to its size and a number of structural issues, it was complete and the original paintwork and lining decoration were still present all be it faded and dirty.

Once the object was dismantled it allowed access for all the component parts to be cleaned, treated for any infestation and a surface finish applied.

During the cleaning process, it gave me the opportunity to really study and investigate the detail of the wagon, how it was constructed, how it deteriorated through use and how it was repaired during its working life. Each small part leads to a greater understanding of the wagon.

All these findings are recorded both photographically and written, along with a report of the treatment carried out. This will be kept as part of the historical record for this object, which leads to a greater understanding of this wagon.

A great deal of thought must be given to how an object is displayed and as this wagon is not only large and heavy, it is also fragile. I have designed a steel mount that will support the wagon without putting any weight through the delicate timber wheels and axles relieving any undue stress to the object.

The Yetminster wagon was a very interesting project to be involved in, with some challenges to overcome but being able to bring to life the true colours and decoration that the original craftsmen applied was very rewarding.”