It has been a week of meetings. Don’t worry this blog post won’t read like minutes. There are a few things that might interest you. In fact one of the meetings was actually very exciting! Jess and I met with Education staff Helen and Neil from the Museum of Oxford and Susan from the University Museum Education Service. We bounced around lots of ideas for the Community Exhibition, which will be in March at the Museum of Oxford. To be honest, when I started this project I wasn’t sure what this “panel based Community Exhibition” was all about. But I am now convinced that this will be really fun. I’m not going to give too much away at this stage as some of these ideas might fall by the wayside. So watch this space! But I do have my fingers firmly crossed that I might be able to live out my childhood dream of going into the costume shop that Mr Benn loved so much. (See my post from last week!)
Something else that has got me thinking was an article I read in “Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers” which was about military footwear. What struck me was the
contrast between the wonderfully flamboyant hats which I had seen at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and the woefully inadequate boots that soldiers were issued with right up until the First World War. Of course their superiors had beautifully crafted, handmade boots, which matched their dapper headwear but neglecting to provide sufficient boots left the army weak and many battles lost. Can you imagine how useless and unshod army would be? By some accounts the boots were so badly made that they fell apart after one day of marching. Some sham mass production techniques used clay in the soles to add weight and therefore the illusion of quality. These boots also fell apart at the first contact with water. And despite huge improvements in production by the beginning of the C20th, we’ve all heard of trench foot suffered by soldiers during the First World War. That’s all rather gruesome to imagine.
If you want to read more the book’s full details are below. I have been referring to this book a lot through my research as all the essays are fantastic. Well worth a look.
Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers edited by Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil, published in 2006 by Berg, Oxford and New York. ISBN-13 978 1 84520 443 3 or ISBN-10 1 84520 443 3