Hands On or Hands Off at Attingham?

A close up of damage to an item in the collection at Attingham.

How do we ensure everybody gets to experience and explore all that Attingham has to offer, at the same time as continuing to care for and protect the objects left in our care? From Easter 2019 a new installation in the Mansion will explore this.

Hands On or Hands Off?

From Easter 2019 through the National Trust's Hands On or Hands Off? project we will be involving visitors in our dilemmas and debates around balancing conservation with access at one of the National Trust’s busiest places. 

Fair Wear and Tear? will be a quirky ‘dark museum’ space in part of the first floor display in the Mansion, and it will be creative, interactive, immersive and theatrical. It will explore the causes, impacts and mitigation of wear-and-tear, and how we can all help prevent it.

A Conservator at work on an historic chair in the collection at Attingham.
A Conservator at work on an historic chair in the collection at Attingham.
A Conservator at work on an historic chair in the collection at Attingham.

Damaged items

Often when an object in a collection gets too damaged it is removed from open display and put into a storeroom pending conservation treatment. If a piece of an object becomes detached it is put into a box of ‘broken bits’ to hopefully be reattached one day, usually kept in a store out of sight of visitors. 

In the stores at Attingham damaged parts of items are kept, pending conservation treatment.
A close up of damage to a historic chair in the collection at Attingham.
In the stores at Attingham damaged parts of items are kept, pending conservation treatment.
" In recent years we have seen an increase in accidental damage and wear-and-tear to our collections and interiors. Sharing the objects in our care with our visitors is really important to us at Attingham – it helps us tell the stories and history of the estate. Exploring ways to do this, whilst also preserving the objects is a really exciting challenge"
- Helen Rowse, House and Collections Manager at Attingham.

Fair Wear and Tear?

Fair Wear and Tear? intends to bring these items back out for people to see, displaying them in an innovative, impactful and dramatic way, and engaging people with the dilemmas we face when balancing access to collections.

Sharing the stories of the estate and its collection is an important part of the work at Attingham. Throughout the year the team carry out conservation on the collection in front of visitors.
A close up of the historic shells in the collection at Attingham Park.
Sharing the stories of the estate and its collection is an important part of the work at Attingham. Throughout the year the team carry out conservation on the collection in front of visitors.


The installation will run from Easter 2019 and during this time interactive workshops will take place inviting visitors to feed back their thoughts and suggestions about this important topic. We’ll be adding more details to this page as the project progresses.