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, which comprises a team of three, including 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’s a typical day for you?
No two days are the same when caring for collections. Although we can often be seen checking around the House at the start of each day, making sure nothing has too much dust build-up (simple, but one of the most key elements of collection care and preventive conservation), our day does not end there. We then carry out a rolling programme of cleaning, maintenance, and monitoring across 31 storage areas and the 24 rooms open to the public. Our tasks range from carrying out light readings, checking insect traps, repairing library books, giltwood cleaning, winding clocks with our Conservation and Technical Officer, Roger, and auditing and updating records on our collections. Our collections range from the furniture, porcelain, and artwork that Harewood House is noted for, to textiles, taxidermy, archives, and the fixtures and fittings within these rooms, carpets, curtains, pelmets, windows, and floors. As you can see our small team of three has their work cut out!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
We are all interested in preventive conservation, so being able to work with such a varied collection and all the different materials that come with it is an amazing opportunity. We love the variety that comes with the job, and that one minute we can be on our hands and knees checking for pests on an Axminster carpet and the next helping re-hang a painting or move a Chippendale sofa, our role rarely gets stale.
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