Quaker Doll Display

We are delighted to announce that our hallway display, previously focused on the Friends Ambulance Unit and Stramongate School, has had an exciting refresh for 2022!

Our new display is on a 1820s Quaker doll from our collection and features two themes, one focusing on her history and the other on the doll itself and her garments, detailing how we conserved them.

Our curatorial assistant, Francesca researched the doll’s history and worked on her conservation, so that she could be made ready for display.

Quaker Doll Display
Our Curatorial Assistant Francesca with the Doll Display

Photographic cut outs of her undergarments, including an underdress, a petticoat, a shift and pantaloons illustrate what she is wearing under her grey silk dress. They help the viewer understand how structural layering helps create a full skirt, popular for the time period.

We also explain how you can spot the tell-tale signs that the bonnet was made later and by a different hand.

Quaker Doll Display
Quaker Doll Display


This 1820s Quaker doll belonged to the Tyneside Quaker Richardson family. Her shawl and handkerchief were hemmed by Rebecca Richardson who died in 1834, after which the doll was passed down the female line.

Quaker Doll Display
Images from our Conservation Wash Day


We conservation washed the doll’s clothes, as well as dry-cleaning her body and leather cleaning her shoes and gloves.

The porcelain of the doll’s head and shoulders was gently swabbed with a mild solution of conservation detergent.

Our general manager Bridget, also expertly conserved a rip in the doll’s elbow which had been leaking stuffing.

The display illustrates how we carried out this work and highlights some of the exquisite craftsmanship that went into the hand-stitched garments.

When to visit

Quaker Doll Display
Visitors Examine the New Display

Visitors have already been enjoying the new display and we’re confident you will too. Why not pop in and check it out for yourself?

We look forward to seeing you when we re-open on Wednesday 12th January 2022. Our winter opening hours will be Wed-Sat, 10AM-5PM until the end of March.

Further Information

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out some of our other blog posts:

Find out about our new Hidden Gem award from Visit England

Discover our new online poetry anthology, ‘Water Courses’

Read about the 27-year tenure of our retiring General Manager, Bridget Guest

Supporting the Quaker Tapestry

We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog and gained an insight into the work that goes into creating a new display.

We couldn’t accept and care for our tapestries and other wonderful artefacts without our dedicated Care and Conservation team. However we need your help to…

– Create an improved database of the extensive Quaker Tapestry collection of supplementary items

– Acquire conservation materials

– Develop best practice of the Care and Conservation volunteers through further training

Your donation will help us achieve our goals and ensure the longevity of the exhibition and collection. Please consider making a donation

Alternatively, if you are interested in purchasing a gift why don’t you check out our online shop?

Quaker Tapestry Facts

The colourful tapestry panels measure 63.5cm x 53.3cm and are made using a mix of five ancient stiches and a new one, invented for the project. Embroiderers around the world now use the ‘Quaker Stitch’.

World traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith, says they’re one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see in the world.

The panels help you find out about famous scientists, engineers, bankers, botanists and non-conformists who pioneered industrial welfare, fair trade, prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives. Many were Cumbrians.

Begun in 1981 and completed in 1996, they’re the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of people to another.

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“Wonderful exhibits, a great museum.”

Sylvia Rutter – Northwich, Cheshire