Precious museum objects conserved

A pewter cup, an inkwell and a frying pan are among several important objects recently returned from conservation and soon to be displayed at Hawkesbury Regional Museum in Windsor.

More specifically:

  • a pewter cup retrieved from the basement of the Macquarie Arms Hotel and decorated with an early example of our national coat of arms
  • an inkwell used by the minister of St Matthews Anglican Church in the 1890s, and
  • a 200 year old frying pan.

Ink Stand The items received extensive conservation treatments to stabilise and protect them from further deterioration and to preserve them for future generations, according to Museum Curator, Rebecca Turnbull.

“The items were selected because of their significance as identified in a recent assessment of the collection by Canberra-based conservation expert, Roslyn Russell,” Rebecca said.

“The report concluded that the collection of the Hawkesbury Regional Museum is of historical significance at the national level across a number of thematic areas.

“It also identified a number of items in need of conservation, including the two-handled pewter cup and the 200 year old frying pan.”

The cup features an emu and a kangaroo, and is thought be a very early example of the development of our national heraldic symbol. The frying pan was used by soldiers when they were stationed in the guardhouse of the military barracks in Windsor. It is made of cast iron with lead plating, and has a long handle attached by three rivets. Remarkably, there are still charred food remains to be seen on the frying pan surface.

“While it’s not possible to determine exactly the type of food the soldiers were eating,’ said Rebecca, ‘we now know from testing that it was a sweet, sugary substance. The amazing thing is that whatever it was; it left a trace that we can still see today.

The treatment to preserve the frying pan included removal of loose corrosion, corrosion stabilisation by chemical treatment, and the application of protective coating.

The museum is located at 8 Baker Street, Windsor and is open over Easter except Good Friday. www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/museum

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