After more than 68 hours of research, patterning, cutting, and sewing, the replica of John Hancock’s velvet coat is finished and has been installed in the exhibit on the first floor of the Old State House. The waistcoat and breeches are in progress in Henry Cooke’s workshop and will be finished soon.
The original has been on display for many years at the Old State House. This long period of exposure placed it at risk both visible and UV light, environmental pollution, and the weight of the heavy fabric, which put strain on the shoulder seams. The original has now returned to dark storage to protect it for future generations.
In order to best protect this beautiful garment, we will store it in a sturdy acid-free archival box, wrapped in soft acid-free tissue paper.
Rolls of acid-free tissue are placed inside the body of the coat and in the arms to to prevent any folds or creases in the fabric.
The main aim is to avoid any creases or sharp folds which could damage the fabric over time. The box is slightly wider than necessary, so a "bumper" of tissue paper is placed on either side of the coat to keep it from shifting.
This box will be stored in a secure space in which we monitor and control the temperature and humidity. This space is vacuumed weekly and carefully monitored for pest activity. These storage conditions will give John Hancock’s coat the best possible chance at surviving for many more years to come. We may display the original in the future, but, in keeping with current museum standards, we will only keep it on display for a few weeks at a time in order to prevent further damage.
Researchers wishing to view the original should email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. Thank you for following along with our process and supporting our efforts to preserve the past!