SHE didn’t know what to expect when she signed up to become an honoury curator at the Warrington Museum, but Catherine Parker has discovered some of the town’s best kept stories.
The mum of two from Winwick has helped to create a display in the museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities exhibition, which is to open on Saturday.
Catherine has based her project on the scold’s bridle - a torture device which was used as a form of punishment and public humiliation for women, often those who disobeyed their husbands.
She said: “I was given the scold’s bridle as a starting point. I wanted to turn something which is depressing into something more positive.
“So I decided to look at how far women in Warrington have come since the scold’s bridle was used and get people chatting about this.”
Catherine organised a meeting called 155 Years on, where women were invited to share their experiences and shed a new perspective on the issue.
“The most interesting thing to come out of the research for me was the realisation that society has found more acceptable forms of abuse since the use of such devices as the scold’s bridle,” said Catherine.
“Although not physical, mental forms of abuse, such as humiliation, are still prevalent in today’s society via various media outputs and also that of peer to peer via social media.”
As part of her job as an honorary curator, Catherine interviewed Canon June Steventon from St Michael’s Church in Winwick, who was one of the first women to be ordained in 1994.
“Hearing about her experiences was really interesting,” she added.
Pamela Lau, who helped Catherine to get the project up and running, was determined not to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, who stayed at home while her husband went out to work.
Pamela, who has two successful businesses under her belt including Mr Lau's Dim Sum Bar and Restaurant on Springfield Street, said: “I know that women are becoming more independent, strong minded and determined. I believe it's true that behind every man is a strong woman.”
Catherine has based the project on stories from women like Pamela and June but is urging more women to come forward.
Call Warrington Museum on 442399.
Join in Warrington Museum’s special weekend on Saturday between 10am and 4pm
with a family friendly opening this week only on Sunday between 1pm and 3pm.
Be the first to see the Museum’s latest permanent new attraction, the Cabinet of Curiosities Gallery filled with wonderful and bizarre items
On Sunday join in A Curious Tea Party with free craft activities celebrating Lewis Carroll’s Birthday weekend!