One of the changes we will be implementing at Westville will be to break down barriers of physical space for a complete immersive experience. Visitors will be encouraged to go into the rooms of our houses, in most cases use the furniture…feel what it was like to sleep on a rope bed or a mattress filled with straw. Your curiosity will be sparked by what you see, smell, hear, touch, taste and think. Fun hands- on activities for the entire family facilitate enjoyable and memorable learning. Tactile experiences help visitors appreciate how the items were used over time and among cultures.
We plan on removing most, if not all, of the so-called “velvet ropes” allowing visitors to sit at the dining table, rifle through their desk, and pick up a book. As a result, we need to keep our collection in working order and looking like it would during the nineteenth century. This requires us to take a new approach to the care and preservation of our artifacts.
Many museums you are familiar with have preservation collections. Most of Westville’s collection is what we call an educational collection. A preservation collection is for display and preserving for future generations. An educational collection is one that can be handled and used as teaching devices. While Westville does have some items in the collection that are original to the houses and families and will remain a preservation collection, the majority of the collection has been donated with the understanding that they would be used to help teach what life was like in the 19th century.
Many of our artifacts are in need of extensive cleaning and repair in order for them to be used and enjoyed by you and your family. We have created a GoFundMe campaign to provide the funds enabling us to clean, restore, and for the upkeep of these artifacts for several years to come. Your donations will help us purchase much needed museum quality cleaning products and tools.
We will be working on the artifacts as funds become available, so we will be frequently updating our progress. We will post pictures, videos, and articles to showcase our progress on the GoFundMe page and on our social media.