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Conserving a textile treasure

Donations to our 2019 Annual Appeal helped the Museum to conserve the oldest dress in the Museum’s collection — a magnificent silk brocade gown from the 1700s.

Staff from the National Museum have been studying the dress and its history, and in 2020 were able to travel to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) to compare the Springfield–Faithfull gown to other gowns of the same period.

This confirmed evidence of alterations to the gown and gave the team a richer understanding of its construction.

The dress was brought from England to Australia and passed down through five generations of the one family. There is evidence that the dress has been modified several times, most likely to stay current with the slow-changing fashion of the period.

Cheryl Crilly, curator:

Beginning in the 1730s the story of this dress — its design and construction, how it was worn, altered, cherished and preserved — has been shaped by a long line of women.

The dress holds stories of London’s weaving and textile industry, colonial migration, pastoralism at Springfield sheep station near Goulburn and Sydney’s social life.

Part of the Springfield–Faithfull Family collection, the dress was donated to the Museum in 2005 by Pamela Maple-Brown and the late Jim Maple-Brown, and the late Diana Boyd, through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, curator Cheryl Crilly and conservator Michelle Newton-Edwards can continue researching and conserving this gown so that it’s full history can be shared with the nation.

Thank you

We would like to thank and acknowledge our donors to the 2019 Annual Appeal, including those who would like to remain anonymous.

Anna-Rosa Baker
Nerida Barges
Robin Blake
Daryl Blaxland
Rosie Develin
Jennifer Freyer
Wayne and Jennifer Godfrey
Catherine Harris
John and Eve Hiscox
Trevor Ireland
Teresa Layton
Lloyd Marshall
Graeme Mayo
Sue Palmer
Colin Rea
Alan and Helen Rose
Dawn Waterhouse
Moh Yan Yang
Dr Michael Allam
Sally Bachelard
Dr Geoffrey Burkhardt
Dr Joan Kitchin
Marion Kossatz
Wendy Lindgren
Mark Parkinson
Penelope Richardson
Linda Shaw
Ross Warren
Philip and Julie Roper
Gabrielle Watt

Janet Lapworth
Anne Moroney
Keith Bradley AM
Sarah Brasch
Nicole Bright
Karen and Paddy Costanzo
Maria Damo
Carolyn Forster OAM and Rick Forster
Sally Anne Hasluck OAM
Heather Henderson
William Hyland
Dr Joseph Johnson OAM
Gerry and Ted Kruger
Suzanne Maple-Brown
Dr Betty Meehan AO
Dr Paul Meyer
Peter Mitchell
Neil Munro
Jenny Myers
The Nicolson Family
Margaret Pender and Di Chalmers
Kristine Riethmiller
Sanya Ritchie
Linnett and David Turner
Lisa Turner
Kathy Walter
Robert and Helen Harvie
Justice Richard Refshauge
Elizabeth Gray
Meredith Hinchliffe

Bridget Sack
Robin Anderson
Joanne Daly
John Gray
Gary Humphries
Helen Rankin
Helen Cosgrove
Dr Anthea Hyslop
Pip Merriman
Wendy Smith
Helene Stead
Jennifer Rowland
Andrew and Monica Phelan
The Estate of Diana Boyd
Alison Clugston-Cornes
Sue and Steven Dyer
The Hon Margaret Reid
Margaret Anderson
Marc Besen AC and Eva Besen AO
Howard Brown
Dr Patricia Clarke
Haydn Daw and Susan Daw OAM
Fiona James
Marjorie Lindenmayer
Tricia McLachlan
Suzanne Wood
Graeme and Linda Beveridge
Peter Pigott AM and Ann Pigott
Louise Willey

The People’s Walk

Etch your name in history by making a donation today.

Contact us

Karen Pittar, Philanthropy Coordinator
Email: development@nma.gov.au
Phone: +61 2 6208 5373

National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
Canberra ACT 2601

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