Exploring Gjirokastra

Written by Charlotte Gamper

Day two began with a mini exploration of the newer part of town in Gjirokaster in a quest to buy the lowest powered domestic vacuum cleaner we could lay our hands on.  The aim will be to show participants how to adapt the vacuum and make it more conservation friendly for safe use with delicate and vulnerable museum textiles. This exercise illustrates well our training principles here in Albania, teaching ideal conservation methods alongside ways of working in a region where there is no easy access to conservation supplies.

During the morning Lyndsey continued her work around improving interpretation in the museum, focusing on ways this could be approached for children visiting the Ethnographic Museum.

Basic principles of textiles and conservation were then outlined by Mela, describing well the importance of conservation, as “not just saving the object, but saving everything the object can tell us”.  This was then followed with a safe handling and packing for museum objects talk and demonstration by Azra, with lively and entertaining anecdotes including her observations relating to the proximity of sandwiches to museum objects.

Nedi, Lyndsey and Mela went on a diplomatic mission to the Ethnographic Museum.  Although the museum has a great need for the improvements we have planned to make, as in many places in the region politically the situation can be a little delicate.

The day nicely finished with a tour of the Skenduli House, a local historic house where we learnt more about the culture and traditions of Gjirokaster…followed with an interesting walk through the middle of a thunder storm back to the hotel.