Curator's blog

There are over 100 curatorial and conservation experts working for the National Trust, caring for our houses, collections, gardens and landscapes. Learn more about their experiences first-hand.

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This blog is written by National Trust curators, Curatorial and conservation experts National Trust curators Curatorial and conservation experts
Petworth painting conservation

Behind the scenes of exhibitions and conservation work, getting closer to objects and collections research, and sharing art and cultural perspectives... Follow the National Trust Curator's blog to hear the latest news and views from our experts.

Latest posts

1 Apr 2021

Passing the torch in painting conservation


Published: 1 April 2021

In 2020, after a career spanning three decades, Christine (Tina) Sitwell, Paintings Conservation Adviser, retired from the Trust. Before her departure, she spent time with her successor, Rebecca (Becca) Hellen, who took up the post amid the first national lockdown due to the global health pandemic. As Becca recounts, picking up the torch from Tina has been a fascinating yet nonetheless ...

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11 Nov 2020

Exceptional times, extraordinary discoveries: lockdown at Oxburgh Hall


Published: 11 November 2020

Anna Forrest is a curator in the East of England. She has worked at many historic houses in the region but there is one place that has captured her imagination (and heart) more than any other - Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk. Here she describes the highs and lows of working on a complex project at Oxburgh throughout the unprecedented events of spring and summer 2020, and some of the exciting ...

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27 Aug 2020

An object I love at Standen: De Morgan's peacock bowl


Published: 27 August 2020

Head Curator Sally-Anne Huxtable explains how she became smitten with the ceramics of William De Morgan, and why she particularly loves his peacock design on a bowl at Standen House, West Sussex.

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13 Mar 2020

Caring for Nostell's dolls' house


Published: 13 March 2020

Simon McCormack, curator at Nostell, West Yorkshire, takes us into a miniature world and explains what it's like to look after one of the oldest dolls’ houses in the country. Dating from the 1730s, Nostell’s dolls’ house is one of only a handful surviving from the 18th century. A grand mansion in miniature, full of intricately crafted objects, the dolls' house is a microcosm of a real-sized ...

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23 Jan 2020

An object I love at Castle Ward: Mary Ward’s microscope


Published: 23 January 2020

Frances Bailey is our Lead Curator for Northern Ireland. One of her favourite objects in the collections she helps care for is the 19th-century microscope Mary Ward of Castle Ward was given as a teenager. Not only does it remind her of her own childhood gift, but the microscope had a profound influence on Mary and her future achievements, as Frances explains.

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21 Nov 2019

The object I love at Hardwick Hall


Published: 21 November 2019

Maria Jordan is Studio Manager of our Textile Conservation Studio at Blickling, Norfolk. It is our only specialist in-house textile conservation treatment facility and is tasked with caring for the over 150,000 individual items in our textile collection. One of Maria's first tasks when joining the studio was conserving some of the oldest and largest tapestries we care for – Hardwick Hall’s '...

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11 Nov 2019

Paint Freedom: Celebrating the story of Dorset’s Tolpuddle Tree


Published: 11 November 2019

Kate Bethune, one of our regional curators in the South West, works on many different projects throughout the year, across lots of different properties. One of her favourites this year was part of our national People's Landscapes programme of events, celebrating the role that the places we care for have played in social change. Paint Freedom, a community art project, was held at one of the ...

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25 Sep 2019

Banned Books Week and Vita's challenge


Published: 25 September 2019

The libraries at our places are of particular interest to Hannah Squire, Assistant Curator for National Public Programmes. In recognition of Banned Books Week, a nationwide campaign to celebrate the freedom to read, Hannah takes a closer look at a number of books in the library at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent and explores the ways in which Vita Sackville-West challenged accepted ...

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13 Sep 2019

Exploring transatlantic cultural relationships forged by the Mayflower's historic voyage


Published: 13 September 2019

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth, Devon to Plymouth, Massachusetts. As this anniversary approaches, Curator Alison Cooper takes a deeper look at how this historic voyage and our subsequent transatlantic relationship has shaped, and been shaped by, our places.

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30 Jul 2019

A closer look: what we learn from conservation photography


Published: 30 July 2019

Lorna Scott works as a conservation documentation officer, helping to create a permanent record of the conservation work undertaken on our collection items and historic interiors. She spends her days immersed in the beauty and intricacies of our rich and varied collections, all while working entirely at Heelis, the head office of the National Trust in Swindon.

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