Preserving and sharing our Collection - National Sporting Heritage Day 2023

A full length photograph of the velvet purple cloak decorated with metal buttons on display at the NPHT

Cloak worn by Sir Ian McKellen at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) invited visitors to a unique opportunity to view an iconic object out of the display case, the object was the cloak worn by Sir Ian McKellen at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The cloak had been on display, but due to its fragility needed to be moved into storage for conservation. We took this opportunity to run a ‘last chance to see’ event. Visitors, supported by our fantastic volunteers, could look in detail at the cloak and view original costume designs from the 2012 ‘Costume Bible’ also from the collection.

A close-up of the silver and gold metal buttons decorating the velvet purple cloak

Detail of the cloak’s decoration

Before NSHD we asked our community to decide what items should replace the cloak. We ran an online poll asking people to vote for their favourite from a selection of costumes. We had a fantastic response and revealed the most voted for items on NSHD. These were an all-in-one plastic Union Jack dress and white and orange shirt printed with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both costumes are from the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The Curator at Discover Bucks Museum trained our Museum Trainees how to safely remove the cloak from display and create specialist padding with conservation tissue to protect the cloak for the event. The trainees then worked with the Curator to curate a new display using items chosen by the public. To complement the event we documented the changeover on our website and shared on #NSD2023 across our social media.

(L) Two female volunteers working on table holding Paralympic torches, mascots and costume designs. (R) Two male trainees in front of new costume display.

(L) NPHT Volunteers setting up for Sporting Heritage Day
(R) Museum Trainees with the new display

In the up-and-coming months we are excited to be working with Microform who are supporting a project to preserve, digitise and share our extensive slide collections.

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