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 training and the best parts of the job.
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 training have you had?
We are a small but very knowledgeable team. Jayne, who heads up our team, has recently celebrated her 30th year working with the collection here at Harewood. If Jayne doesn’t know the answer to a question it’s probably not worth knowing! All three of us, however, have been trained to care for a variety of materials including giltwood, book consolidation, integrated pest management, condition assessing, and the cleaning of paintings to name a few. Our interests range beyond collection care too, with degrees held in both history (Amy) and archaeology (Rachel).
What’s the worst part of the job?
Dealing with a moth infestation in part of our taxidermy collection stands out from this week. It’s currently sat in our conservation freezer at -18 degrees centigrade, to ensure the infestation is properly dealt with. Although polishing the brass entrance step in the winter when it’s raining, comes a close second.
Do you have a favourite item in the collection?
Unique items such as a mechanical bird currently in storage (which still works) and the rocking horse which was used during the 2018/19 1920’s Christmas display, are amongst our favourite items. The latter belonged to the 7th Earl, George and was used by him as a child. There’s always something new to marvel within our collection when we’re carrying out our rolling programme.
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