Collection, Exhibition

Working with the MoMu/UA Study Collection: Conservation of Shoes


Pumps/court-shoes (ca. 1900)

Inventory number: 81074

Materials and techniques: Silk; Cotton; Linen; Leather

The conservation treatment of shoes can be challenging for different reasons: shoes are small objects which hampers manipulations during conservation treatment; they consist of a diverse range of materials which are sometimes invisible and unreachable (therefore cleaning possibilities are limited); they are three-dimensional objects, ect. In this case, most of the weft of the silk satin weave was lost, leaving the cotton warp visible and loose.

To stabilize the damage, the warp was fixed upon the lining by couching, a common conservation stitch. To maintain their shape, soft silk cushions were made which easily slide in and out of the shoes. A box was made out of acid free cardboard, to preserve the shoes in storage. They are supported by cushions to prevent them from moving and falling.

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