If you visit Standen you may see some of our conservation team working in the house. They might be dusting, but they could also have pulled all the drawers out of a cabinet and are cleaning them. There also might be a team of volunteers dusting books or cleaning metal objects.
So what’s going on? Well, as part of the routine of caring for the house we clean all of it, every year, from top to bottom, and everything in it.
Our team of specialist preventative conservation cleaners work systematically through the house, dusting glass and ceramics with special brushes, vacuuming textiles with low suction and taking furniture apart to get to all the nooks and crannies and to make sure they are in the best possible condition.
They note any changes on object condition reports and record what they have done. This is important as we have over 6000 objects in our collection and couldn’t possibly remember them all!
So why are you seeing this now? Traditionally, National Trust houses would close for 3 or 4 months in winter to do all of this work behind the scenes. The house would be “put to bed” and covered up, only uncovered to be cleaned and finally when we reopened to the public in March. Now we are open we can share the work that the house and collection needs to ensure that it is in the best possible condition for our visitors to enjoy.
If you want to know more we run three weekends in November where we talk about the work we do – you might even get the chance to have a go! Or you could read the blog next time…