Dear Member and Supporter
Biennial Appeal: Conserving letters written by pioneering archaeologists to William Cunnington
For this year’s members’ appeal, we are seeking your help to conserve a book of antiquarian letters in our Collection. Members of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society have a long history of helping to care for our collections and I do hope you can support this appeal.
The fascinating ‘letter book’ (pictured right and over) contains 246 letters sent to William Cunnington (pictured right) between 1799 and 1810. Written to him by fellow antiquarians they discuss archaeological discoveries as they began exploring some of Wiltshire’s prehistoric sites. The letters contain information about many of the objects in the Museum’s Prehistoric Wiltshire Galleries and are much used by researchers.
Each letter urgently needs cleaning, strengthening and the paper
de-acidifying. Many have writing close to the paper’s edge, which is often curled, tatty and torn: with the risk of text being lost. The original binding is failing, and the letters are becoming loose. We want to remove the letters from the binding and store them flat in bespoke archival ring binders, which will protect them and improve accessibility. In addition to improved conservation the letters will also be digitised and transcribed.
The conservation of these important letters will cost £6,600. We have been awarded a grant of £4,750 towards the project by the Association of Independent Museums Conservation Scheme, but additional funding of £1,850 is needed to ensure all the conservation work required can be undertaken.
Should we be successful in raising more than the funds required the balance will be put towards further library projects.
Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
Collections Officer: Library and Archive