There are no barriers at Greyfriars
Greyfriars is a timber-framed house with over five-hundred years of history. You'll find no ropes or barriers here - nothing standing between the people visiting and the collection we care for - and this is the way it should be. We want all our visitors to experience a house that was meant to be lived in.
The only downside to having no physical barriers at Greyfriars is that it does create challenges when preserving the eclectic and ageing collection. This is why we're excited to be involved in a new conservation project called 'Hands On or Hands Off?'
Working with Kev Sutherland, writer and artist for the Beano magazine, Greyfriars is experimenting with humorous and ironic illustrations to help deliver our conservation messages to visitors.
We know how tempting it can be to check out the back of a tapestry, to pick up a few 18th-century plates to see if there’s anything written underneath, or even snuggle up in the 17th-century tester-bed to find out if the mattress is comfortable enough to sleep on (it's not, we promise!). These actions seem harmless, but running hands and fingers over various pieces of furniture and fabric is sure to cause damage in the long run.
We're also aware that we've made things unclear when it comes to what our visitors can't touch and why. By drawing attention to parts of the collection in the house and garden that are most prone to being handled and damaged, the team at Greyfriars is hoping Kev's illustrations will make for a less confusing and more enjoyable visit. We wish 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 unique illustrations are now on show inside the house and we can't wait 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 make our conservation messages better.
Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for updates on 'Hands On or Hands Off?' at Greyfriars.