There are no barriers at Greyfriars

Greyfriars Parlour Cartoon

You'll find no ropes or barriers at Greyfriars, nothing standing between people and collection, and this is the way it should be. We want all our visitors to experience a house that was built to be lived in.

The only downside to us having no physical barriers is that it does create challenges when preserving the eclectic and ageing collection inside the house. This is why we're excited to be involved in a conservation project called 'Hands On or Hands Off?'

Working with Kev Sutherland - writer and artist for the Beano magazine - Greyfriars is experimenting with illustrations to help deliver our conservation messages to visitors.

Temptation to touch

We know how tempting it can be to check out the back of a tapestry, to pick up the 18th-century plates to see if there’s anything written underneath, to snuggle up in the 17th-century tester-bed to find out if the mattress is comfortable enough to sleep on. These actions seem harmless but running our hands and fingers over various surfaces and pieces of old fabric is sure to cause extensive damage in the long-run.

Conservation message in the Dining Room
Conservation message in the Dining Room
Conservation message in the Dining Room

Making our messages clear

As an organisation, we are also very aware that we've made things a bit unclear when it comes to what our visitors cannot touch and why. By drawing attention to items at Greyfriars that are most prone to being handled and damaged, the team here are hoping that Kev's illustrations will make for a less confusing and more enjoyable visit. We're aiming to deliver our new conservation messages in a way that is clear and informative but also engaging and fun.


The support we receive from our visitors is what keeps us doing the important conservation work we do. Kev's illustrations are on show inside Greyfriars and we would love to hear what you all think of our approach. Feedback is always welcome so please share with us any thoughts and comments, your opinion will play a major role in helping us strengthen our conservation messages.

Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for updates on 'Hands On or Hands Off?'