Uncovering our collection

Cleaning charis Ickworth

Ickworth is in the process of moving 2,500 collection items from a storage corridor to protect them from conservation works happening later in the year. Emma, Conservation Assistant explains her role in the project and what visitors might be seeing later in the year.

What is your role at Ickworth?

I’m a Conservation Assistant who joined the team in November last year specifically for our Ickworth Uncovered Project. My role is extremely varied. In the mornings, I help the rest of our team of Conservation Assistants prepare the house for opening to the public. In the afternoons, I work on our Uncovered Project, assisting our Project Conservator and Senior House Steward with the logistics and admin involved with such a large venture. I also work closely with volunteers and staff across site to ensure everybody is kept up to speed with all the latest news on the project. I can also sometimes be found with a brush and vacuum in hand caring for our historic objects.

Why are we moving the collection?

Ickworth Uncovered is a multi-million-pound project to save our extremely valuable collection from a leaking roof. The roof of the Rotunda is largely original and due to this we have water ingress in the East Wing, where we house a large store room filled with objects from our collection, and below that – the Smoking Room, which is filled with priceless paintings.
In order for the necessary repairs to be carried out to the roof, we need to move all 2500 objects housed in the Upper East Wing Store Room to other temporary locations throughout the house. As you can imagine, this is no simple task and requires the hard work of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers in order to make this possible.

Where is the collection going?

The heavier items have been moved downstairs into the Far East Corridor, off the Smoking Room. Lighter objects and ceramics have been moved into the Bedroom. Our most sensitive objects have been moved to the Dressing Room, and finally our paintings, drawings and art works are being moved upstairs to the second floor, where we have created space in another store room.

Can we see any of these stored items?

All objects stored in the Bedroom are on display to the public; we have reinterpreted the space as an open storeroom. We use low light levels in order to prevent light damage to the collection housed here. Although many of the objects are wrapped in acid-free tissue paper to preserve them, we will be leaving certain interesting key pieces of our collection unwrapped for you to see, and will be rotating the items on display throughout the year. There is quite the eclectic mix of items and we hope that every time you visit us you will see something new.

Due to the sensitivity of the objects, and in order to preserve these delicate collections, we have made the decision to keep the Dressing Room as a closed store room this year so that we can carefully control  light levels, humidity, dust and pests from harming them.

Objects in the Far East Corridor can only be seen on Conservation Wednesdays or on our Securing Ickworth’s Legacy tour, so be sure to book yourself on during your next visit.