New museum displays highlight story of fox and mink farming in isles

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Shetland Museum this week unveiled three new focus display cases within the galleries, including an 18th century waistcoat, a folding “scrap screen” and a number of items portraying the story of fox and mink farming in Shetland.

The first new display, next to the textile area in the upper gallery, features items telling the story of fox and mink farming in Shetland from the 1930s to the 1970s. Fur was a popular fashion accessory and the humane farming of these animals contributed to Shetland’s involvement in the fur trade.

The items on show include a stole made from Zetland silver fox farm pelt, and a Palamino mink stole loaned by Andrew and Davina Morrison who owned the Whiteness mink farm.

Other items kindly loaned by Mr and Mrs Morrison include a beautiful red woolen coat with white mink trim, handmade by Mrs Morrison for her six-year old daughter Dianne, which is now a perfect fit for Dianne’s own daughter Kara.

The second item is a folding screen, often used in Victorian and Edwardian homes as a room divider or modesty screen.

Such items were often decorated, as this one, with the popular pastime of “scrapping”. This included using collected postcards, cigarette cards or other colourful, and humorous images.

This particular screen is thought to originate from the South Haa in North Roe and it is believed to have been made by Jane Burgess and her daughters c. 1910. The screen is displayed in the upper gallery.

The final new display, located in the lower gallery, contains a beautifully restored silk embroidered waistcoat. This item is the oldest complete garment in the museum collection and it has only been possible to display it now after expert conservation.

The waistcoat belonged to William Henderson who was the laird’’s estate factor in Papa Stour before he died in 1799. His great, great, great, great granddaughter, Elizabeth Morewood from Mid Yell, donated the waistcoat to the museum collection.


Add Your Comment
  • Mark Glover

    • April 7th, 2011 11:11

    This article refers to the ‘humane’ farming of mink and fox farming. There is no such thing and that is why fur factory farming is now banned in the whole of the UK. I sincerely hope that the new museum exhibition is fair and balanced and refers to the suffering that animals in fur factory farms endure – all for a product that nobody needs – as well as the damage done to the environment by fur breeders who allowed animals to escape.


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