How to cover a 400 year old mattress? Comparing dusts vacuumed from a chair every three years to tell if it is deteriorating? Condition survey of a stone floor, tile by tile? A mummified rat from the attic? That’s a quick romp through the preventive conservation blog of the Conservation Team at Knole House, a UK National Trust property.
Knole House is doing the important work of making preventive conservation visible. Often, museum administrations are hesitant to make visible what has long been seen as “behind the scenes” work. Housekeeping, integrated pest management, art handling, and support making were seen as uninteresting. But little by little, museums are bringing their daily preservation activities to light. It is important we emphasize that traditional ideas about conservation, namely heroic, invasive treatment to repair damage, will never restore authenticity; we will only accomplish this through the routine activities of preventive conservation.
Hats off to the Knole Conservation Team! Check out their blog here.