Last Christmas

12 December 2020 – 17 January 2021

Interview with exhibit director Wendy Hesketh

Exhibit director Wendy Hesketh began collecting girls’ comics when she was a child and has reignited that passion now with her exhibit of girls’ bedrooms spanning the last 50 decades. She’s now collected everything from jewellery and clothes to bedding, VHS tapes and music. This is the perfect exhibit for all generations to reminisce and see what’s changed on our Christmas lists over time!

Wendy has answered some popular questions about our exhibit here.

Why did you start your collection?Last Christmas

Most working class museums or exhibits focus on the men and the work they were doing during a particular period of time. I wanted to represent the women. There’s no museum of girlhood in the UK and I think we’re missing a celebration of women and girlhood. Women deserve to have their interests preserved and reflected in our museums as well as the men.


Why do you think it’s important to preserve these items?

As a lecturer I think it’s interesting that to study a particular time we look at working class museums of transport or industry but they mainly focus on men. Women often stayed at home so to find out more about them we have to look at their bedrooms.

I remember looking at a Victorian dress in a museum and thinking the people who donated these items must have been really important. Why should heritage only be preserved by the upper or middle classes? I really wanted to create a museum that reflected the childhoods of working class girls. This exhibit should bring back memories for different generations about items on their Christmas lists and what their bedroom may have looked like.


Where do you get your objects come from?

I spend a lot of my free time going around charity shops around Lanarkshire. I feel like I have to preserve the objects otherwise these items will just be lost. A lot of charity shops don’t know the value of some of the things they have and they can end up damaged or ruined.

I also check EBay for items and will always ask the sellers about the history of the objects.

One woman was selling dolls and by speaking to her I realised they had a lot of other 80s toys they has no use for. I ended up buying the full collection! Her story and photos will be part of the exhibit as I think it’s important to preserve working class culture and stories from this time.


Who do you think will enjoy this exhibit?

I think it’s for everyone! Not just women and girls. During another one of my exhibits we got a lot of people who said they wouldn’t normally go to a museum and they ended up loving it, saying they had never seen anything like it before!

I’d like grandparents to bring their grandchildren. I’d love today’s children to see what it was actually like back in the day and to recreate that moment in time accurately.

I want to create the same feel of the Summerlee of cottages, where different generations can enjoy and swap stories with each other.


Do you think any of the old trends have come back around? Last Christmas dolls

Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony are still huge at conventions and updated versions are still being sold today. There’s still a love and appreciation for the first generation of these toys by the newer generations and collectors. You can also see franchises that have spanned decades like Toy Story which was huge in the 90s and is still popular now. It’s nice that the different generations can share these memories.


What’s your favourite piece?

I think Pierrot Clown is my favourite. I had a porcelain one when I was younger and it’s very nostalgic for me. I also love Jacko Monkey – I get excited when I find anything in charity shops and then love researching all the old objects.


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