We’ve been working with Richmond Castle to help create a brand new display at the English Heritage site.
Uniforms from the museum’s extensive collection are being loaned on a rolling basis over the next five years and will be on show in the castle’s redeveloped exhibition area, which opens to visitors soon.
The museum has several thousand uniform items in its collection, spanning more than 300 years of regimental history.
It’s impossible to put them all on show for visitors, so the majority are carefully stored in the archives and brought into the galleries to refresh displays, or help tell a particular story as part of a special exhibition. Lending them to other museums and heritage organisations also helps bring them to a new audience.
“In this first phase of the partnership we are providing uniform items relating to the volunteer and militia force from the mid-nineteenth century, including a sword, belts, hats and two intricately embroidered jackets,” explains the museum’s Collections Assistant, Zoë Utley. “Our skilled volunteers have created made-to-measure mannequins to ensure the uniforms will look their very best whilst on display at the castle. Working with English Heritage has enabled us to conserve a hat and jacket from the 1850s which had previously been in too delicate a condition to exhibit, so everyone benefits from the partnership.”
Civilians were recruited to the militia and volunteer groups to quell domestic uprisings and rioting and also to provide a home guard during times of external threat. Men served outside of their home county so that local relationships could not be exploited.
“The new museum at Richmond ensures we bring the castle to life for future generations,” says Richard Mason, English Heritage’s Curator.
“The uniform on display is particularly special as it would actually have been worn in the castle grounds in the 19th century. At this time the castle was occupied by the North Yorks militia, incorporating a married quarters for 16 militia staff and their families. Our excellent working relationship with The Green Howard’s museum has allowed us to showcase this heritage in a fascinating new light.”
The town’s attractions have a great track record in supporting each other to ensure visitors to Richmond get the best possible experience, working together on many projects to create the popular town map leaflet, organise the annual GeorgeFest celebration of Richmond’s Georgian past, and offering the Town Ticket – a scheme giving a discount on admission of around 25% off, plus deals at several local pubs, cafes and restaurants.