We’ve had a busy few weeks in the house preparing for the start of the new season on 1 March. Not only did we do a lot of dusting and cleaning over the course of the winter, we also got up to quite a few other things too.
With the help of volunteers known as Conservation Demonstrators, we cleaned the showrooms from top to bottom – this means not only the objects in the room but the cornicing, walls and skirting too. We use a lot of specialist equipment for this including brushes for dusting and museum-grade vacuum cleaners. The only rooms we didn’t clean are the Gold Room and the Dining Room – so if you pop along one day you might just find us up some scaffolding cleaning a chandelier.
Another large task was preparing Mrs Greville’s Apartments for the new exhibition that is now open to the public. The carpet in there, which was the original one from the Library, had to be taken up and put in storage so that a new Eyemat could be installed (see this post for more information). It took eight of us to take it up, carry it downstairs to the Central Hall, roll it between sheets of tissue paper, carry it out the front doors and round to the back of the house, and finally into the Conservation Store to its new home – not an easy task!
A new venture for the house team was Polesden Art Attack, a fun craft activity for children. During half term week we had over 70 children make their own copies of our paintings, which got them thinking more about art while also having a great time. My co-workers and I couldn’t resist having a go ourselves, but I can say without any doubt that the children’s were much better than ours!
So as you can see, we haven’t been resting on our laurels this winter. But now that it’s the open season, the real work begins…