The Collections Care Team at Harewood House Trust is truly a behind the scenes team, ensuring that the museum-accredited collection is maintained to the highest quality of standards, with conservation and preservation at the top of the list.
In a series of blogs, we go behind the scenes with the Collections Care Team, this time looking at props and more.
The team of three includes Jayne, Collections Care Officer, who has worked with the historic collection for 30 years, Rachel and Amy, Collections Care Assistants, who have worked at Harewood for four and two years respectively, to understand more about this vital part of the charity’s work.
What equipment would people be most surprised to find in your workshop?
Perhaps our new microscope, which we plan to use to help us better identify any pests we find in our insect traps and when carrying out our pest checks. Or perhaps the women’s opaque denier tights that we use for straining lumps out of our rabbit skin glue?
What task would people be most surprised to find you carrying out?
People usually get the biggest shock when they enter a room and we’re all on our hands and knees with torches pest checking a carpet or under the Chippendale chairs! Every inch of all the carpets has to be examined for pests including carpet beetles, which love to live in dark undisturbed places and generally are only around 2-3mm in length. However, people would probably be shocked to hear how much involvement our team has in any filming that takes place within the House. As well as clearing any rooms being used of furniture that isn’t required during the filming, or isn’t accurate to the time period that the show or film is set in, we have to pest check every prop before it is brought into the House. Our role doesn’t end once the props are in and filming has begun. From there we have to oversee the filming and equipment that has been installed in the House, to make sure none of our collection is damaged by accident, because sometimes it’s hard to spot a prop from an authentic Chippendale, especially after a long day of filming.
You can keep up to date on the latest news and stories from Harewood on our social media channels @HarewoodHouse