Our work

Caring for rugs during the winter at Ightham Mote © NT / Hannah Holohan

Caring for rugs during the winter at Ightham Mote

For ever, for everyone

Throughout the year, we're working behind the scenes to help conserve and protect the house, collections and gardens for you and future generations. Our work is varied and changes depending on visitor numbers, weather conditions and insect activity.

 

 

 

Our treasures

We have a variety of objects to care for, some of which are highlighted during our My Favourite Item event. If you would like more details of our collection, please look at our collections database.

My favourite Ightham

One of the forged roses on the billiard room light

One of the forged roses on the billiard room light

Han Epps, our Learning and Interpretation Officer, on her favourite item in our collection, the billiard room light.

'I love the roses woven throughout the light and although I have spent many an hour watching friends working in their forges, I still marvel at how they can create such a beautifully intricate flower from such a hard substance. It is little wonder that their skill and understanding of metallurgy was seen as magic, with many blacksmiths burnt as witches and wizards during the medieval period.'

To clean or not to clean

Silver plate being cleaned to protect it from damage

Silver plate being cleaned to protect it from damage

You may have heard that metalwork is damaged by over polishing, and realise that it can corrode if the humidity is too high, but did you realise that touching metal with your skin is extremely damaging too as it transfers moisture? How about that dust is abrasive or that cross-contamination from other metals is just as damaging?

To look after the metalwork in our care, we always wear disposable vinyl gloves and keep our rooms with a humidity level below 60%. We make regular checks throughout the year on the condition of each item and, to prevent cross contamination, we have different brushes and cloths for each type of metal.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes look at conservation © Rebecca Graham, National Trust

Throughout the year, we are going to feature different aspects of our behind-the-scenes work, such as monitoring light levels. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, please email us.

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