Conserving the Overlord Embroidery

Conserving the Overlord Embroidery

The Overlord Embroidery, arguably the D-Day Museum's most famous exhibit, has left the museum ahead of the museum's exciting transformation The Overlord Embroidery is 272 feet long, and has 34 panels - even longer than the Bayeux Tapestry. It tells the story of Operation Overlord; the codename used for the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.  It covers the entire period, beginning with panels depicting the Blitz, and ending with the German retreat. It was commissioned in 1968 by Lord Dulverton, and took twenty embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework five years to create. It has been displayed in the D-Day Museum for over thirty years, but has now been carefully removed from the museum and taken to a secure location for conservation and storage.

Sarah Howard, a freelance conservator who was part of the work to move the embroidery, said it is "a real privilege" to be working so closely with the piece. It will be painstakingly cleaned and examined, and any necessary repairs will be carried out - for example, in some areas the netting over the top of the embroidery has come loose, and will be carefully resewn, using thread which has been colour matched to the original. Thanks to its careful display in the museum over three decades, and the care taken to ensure its preservation, the Overlord Embroidery is in good condition and will remain this way while the museum is closed.

During the renovation of the D-Day Museum, the Overlord Embroidery will be stored in environmentally secure conditions, with regular monitoring to ensure the material is well-preserved, ahead of its reinstallation in the museum. Jonathan Tetley, the conservation restorer who helped to remove the embroidery and place the panels into protective cases, marvelled at the condition of the material and its importance, saying "I wouldn’t be surprised if it did become a national treasure… if it hasn't already".

The Overlord Embroidery will return to the D-Day Museum and will be reinstalled ahead of its reopening in 2018, when it will once more be on display to the public. 

By : Museum Editor /22, May 2017