Behind the scenes, Collection

Working with the MoMu/UA Study Collection: Traditional German headware


Traditional German headware (ca. 1890)

Inventory number: 80289

Materials and techniques: Silk; Cotton; Wool; Cardboard; Metal thread (silver); Metal lamina strips; Glass beads; Stones


This hat is a beautiful example of a mixed-material object that can be found in a textile collection. It consists of a metal frame, which was completely deformed, with a silver coating, richtly ornamented with motives in silver thread and silver lamina strips, and finished with beads. The methods for conserving metal were chosen so as not to be harmful for the textile, and vice versa. The frame was carefully bent back into its proper form. Corrosion on the frame was removed by an abrasive method after which the metal was protected with a coating against the influences of oxygen. The fibres of the fragile, damaged and broken silk ribbons were stabilized on a silk support and protected by a silk crepeline. This is a method to preserve and protect the ribbons, which yields a nice uniform result and gives the viewer an idea of how the hat must have looked in its earlier days.

Words by Bernice Brigou and Natalie Ortega, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, research group Heritage & Sustainability. Project supported by the Flemish Government.