As part of the Sound and Vision project, all the objects from the Experience TV Gallery at the National Science and Media Museum have been moved into our stores, including one of the original Gordon the Gopher puppets. This has given our Documentation team the opportunity to reunite Gordon with original costumes and props that form an often unseen part of our collection. This blog post will share some highlights from Gordon’s wardrobe and reveal how we catalogue museum collections to make sure they can be enjoyed even when the museum itself is closed.

Gordon the Gopher is a puppet gopher that first appeared on children’s TV in the late 1980s. He played a starring role on CBBC programmes ‘The Broom Cupboard’ and ‘Going Live!’ with Paul Smith as his puppeteer.

Fluffy gopher puppet wearing a black t-shirt and red shorts
Gordon the Gopher, puppet from CBBC programme ‘The Broom Cupboard’ and the Saturday morning children’s programme ‘Going Live!’, 1985–1990

Throughout his career he wore a wide variety of outfits, often with his personal ‘GTG’ logo. Viewers were inspired to send in handmade clothing for Gordon and his girlfriend to wear on screen, and we have plenty of these outfits in our museum collection.

Bright pink and turquoise puppet-sized shellsuits
Brightly coloured shellsuits in our collection of Gordon the Gopher’s outfits

Highlights of this collection are costumes from other media entities that were popular in the 1980s. This includes a Spock costume from the TV show Star Trek, complete with latex ears and phaser, and a Mr Blobby outfit with matching boots.

A Mr Blobby outfit on a black background
Gordon the Gopher’s Mr Blobby outfit

Outfits were sent from across the world, with one jacket labelled ‘Made in Holland’, and including an array of sports gear, from brightly coloured shellsuits to football kits and ski goggles. Perhaps the most well-known item of clothing is a leather jacket that was gifted to Gordon by the singer Adam Ant.

As part of the Sound and Vision project, we have been able to catalogue our collection of costume and props that we have acquired from the BFI. Each item of clothing has been given its own unique number, barcode, photograph and description within our collections management system. These records can now feed into our Science Museum Group Collection website, which means that anyone can explore Gordon’s wardrobe for themselves. We have also packed every object in the collection for storage with support from our Conservation team, using archival grade materials to ensure that Gordon’s fabulous outfits are preserved for future generations.

Archival box with Gordon the Gopher's outfits carefully packed inside
Our work includes the careful repacking of the collection into boxes, keeping them safe for future generations.

You can learn more about Gordon the Gopher and about the History of Children’s TV on our Objects and Stories page, or find out more about the Sound and Vision project and our work behind the scenes on the blog.