Conservation in action!

As many people are aware, some of the museum’s objects will be moving over to the Jewish Museum by the end of March;  some for our First World War exhibition, “For King and Country? The Jewish Experience in the First World War” and two for an Arts Council England funded project.

Over the last few weeks three of our most treasured objects left the museum to be conserved, ready for re-display at the Jewish Museum; Doris Benjamin’s cape, the uniform of Frank de Pass and the AJEX Memorial Window by Abram Games.

On the 7th January Doris Benjamin’s nurses cape (see blog post from July 2013) and the dress uniform of Frank de Pass VC were packed with great care by Janie Lightfoot and Kate from Janie Lightfoot Textiles.


I did not take any photographs of the cape being packed but here is the bare mannequin on which it was mounted. The cape will be re-displayed at the Jewish Museum from the end of March 2014. We are really excited to see it cleaned and mounted on a specially made mannequin; it is going to look beautiful.

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The Frank de Pass dress uniform is a fabulous object which will take pride of place in our forthcoming First World War exhibition.  Frank de Pass was the first Jewish serviceman and the first Indian Army officer to receive the Victoria Cross. De Pass was in the 34th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Poona Horse regiment and so his uniform includes a rather beautiful silk turban.


Janie carefully removed both the turban and the jacket from the case.



The jacket had to be removed from the mannequin before packing.


The jacket was then packed with acid-free tissue paper in conservation storage boxes.



The turban was also packed into the box..


The uniform consists of two sword belts and a pair of trousers; these were also packed for conservation.

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The mannequin and case after the uniform was removed. We are sad to see it go but can’t wait to see it on display after conservation in the exhibition.

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Janie has kindly invited us to see the cape being worked on in her studios so hopefully I can give you an update on how this is going soon.

On Friday the 10th January the AJEX Memorial Window, designed by Abram Games (see blog post from August 2013) was removed for conservation. The window will be cleaned, conserved and remounted to be installed at the Jewish Museum as a window in March 2014. Nicholas and Adam from Plowden and Smith had the job of solving how the window was put together and attached to the wall; here you can see them inspecting it.


The window had to be unscrewed from the wall before being carefully taken down.

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Once the window was removed it allowed us to find out how the window was being lit from behind.


A series of tube lights were lighting up the window.

A sheet of Perspex was attached to the back of the window for the light to shine through.


The window was wrapped in a protective sheet and taken down to the van.

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Removing the window obviously left a big space in the museum so Ian Lillicrapp from the Jewish Museum brought us a fantastic replica and put it up in the museum so visitors can still see a version of it before it is unveiled at the Jewish Museum.

Watch this space for an update of how the conservation is going!


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3 comments on “Conservation in action!
  1. Judith Vandervelde - Senior Educator Jewish Museum says:

    Lovely to see behind the scenes and looking forward to it arriving in Camden!

  2. Leonard Stern says:

    We look forward to seeing a magnificent WW1 exhibition created by the Jewish Military Museum and displayed at the Jewish Museum

  3. […] I have written blogs about the AJEX Memorial window and Doris Benjamin’s cape. In my January blog they both went off to the conservators to be cleaned before their new redisplay at the Jewish […]

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