Rijkswoollenhats” In 1980 archeologists investigated the graves of 185 Dutchmen – whale hunters and workman of the train oil refineries who had died on or near Spitsbergen during the Seventeen Century. The skeletons were still wearing their knitted caps, each cap was individualised the men recognised one another only by the pattern of strips on the caps. the men were bundled up so tightly against the fierce cold that only their eyes were visible”

The simplicity of the display has an iconic power and the story pragmatically told in the accompanying text causes me to linger, tears pricking behind my eyes. I find the exhibits about death it seems. I am inextricably drawn to hats of dead whalers dug up from graves, and hats and coats with bullet wounds – maybe it’s about the quiet power they have when presented with a black background in a glass case. I feel a stilling of ihe air around them.




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