6 July 2022

Hall School Museum's delicate textile preserved in history

| Aiden Rothnie
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The Margaret Shumack Stone Hut textile sampler.

The Margaret Shumack Stone Hut textile sampler. Photo: Supplied.

Another piece of Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre’s collection of Australian history has made the ACT Heritage Register.

The Margaret Shumack Stone Hut textile sampler has been registered as an item of significance and added to the register. The sampler dates back to 9 August, 1887.

Mardie Troth, a volunteer at the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre, has been assisting with getting the sampler added to the ACT Heritage Register.

She said heritage recognition for the centre’s collection was a credit to the museum.

“It’s special when something goes through that official line for heritage approval. It’s like a feather in our cap,” she said.

“It says we care about these things, and that even though we’re a small museum we’re professional.”

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Using wool thread, female students created textile samplers in the late 1800s. The samplers featured letters, numbers and images including animals, trees and fruits.

The registered sampler was created by Stone Hut Primary School student, Margaret Shumack. At the time, needlework was seen as an important skill for female students to learn for life outside of school.

The sampler is a small rectangular work with multiple variations of the alphabet in various colours of thread.

The uppermost alphabet, along with the numbers 1-9, are stitched in red thread, with three additional alphabet variations stitched underneath in green thread. Below the alphabets, wording embroidered in green thread outlines the name of the creator, school and date.

Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre previously acquired an ACT Heritage grant to keep the sampler in good condition. To preserve the piece, the centre has had it professionally cleaned and framed.

The sampler is the only known surviving piece of work of its kind from that time period.

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Mardie said it was important to save the relics of the past before they were lost for good.

“After we submitted it for conservation, someone looked at it and went ‘Oh golly, this is really important and we don’t have anything like this around right now’. That’s how we got here,” she said.

“Paper and wool can degrade and can also just get lost, so it’s important to remember and digitise these relics so people can see them in the future.”

The Margaret Shumack Stone Hut textile sampler is currently on display at the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre.

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