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Crowsnest Museum Blog

Collections of the Pass: Organizing Badges

Today at the Crowsnest Museum I could be found armed with a needle and thread.

Fabric based collections are a large part of our collections, and I'll share more about clothing and hats in another post: for not I want to talk about my efforts organising the many military badges in the collection.

These badges are made of canvas or felt, most are smaller than the palm of your hand. We also have a lot of them! Here's the batch I processed today:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, every object in our collection gets its own, unique ID number, and this number needs to be put on the object in some way. Embroidered badges have their own challenges. These numbers can't be permanent (they have to be removable), so I can't write directly on the fabric.

Sewing is the obvious solution. I write the number onto cotton twill tape, then sew the strip of cloth onto the back. The trick here is to use big stitches (to help in removing it if necessary), and to keep the stitches invisible on the other side.

Sewing a label onto one of the badges.

Sewing a label onto the back of one of the badges.

The other side of the badge

Looking at the other side of that same badge. No white thread visible!


Some badges are very small and have too much embroidery on the back side for a label to be safely sewn. In these cases, a paper label on a string is attached to the edge.

It takes patience to label each and every object, but I'm happy to report that I only stabbed myself with a needle once today. The fact that I did so with the back end of the needle, in my mind, makes it that much more admirable.

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