Winter at Mr Straws House
From 3 November 2018 you may wonder, what is it that the team do when the house is closed to visitors? Do they all leave? These are questions we regularly get asked by visitors, wishing to make a final visit before the end of the open season.
The annual conservation clean is a really important time for the property, in helping to look after the Straw possessions and interiors forever.
With an estimated collection of over 30000 objects at Mr Straw’s House, the conservation clean is quite an undertaking.
Behind closed doors every draw is emptied checked and cleaned, where possible furniture is moved out from the walls cleaned and returned, all floors and walls are cleaned and every object out on display will be cleaned before returning to its original location.
To ensure such a large number of objects return to their correct homes and can be seen ‘as the Straw’s left it’ many photographs are taken as each layer is stripped down, we also use the original photographs taken in 1990 to ensure the collection is returned to its home in the house.
Working in such tight spaces as at Mr Straw’s House, a three storey semi-detached family home, brings with it the challenge of storage. Each room is dealt with in turn, starting at the top of the house, and each room broken into sections. Every piece of available space is used in both Endcliffe and Warwick Villa, from floors and landings to work tables.
It really is like playing tetris, trying to relocate or store collection so we can clean behind, underneath or next to other pieces in the collection.
During the four months of conservation cleaning, it is also the time we begin to install the following season display. From bringing out pieces in the collection we wish to use, or finishing the interpretation panels, creating our press releases and marketing for the coming months alongside our volunteer training sessions and introductions for new members of the team.
There isn’t much breathing space in the four months and plans for this years winter clean have been well underway for months. Although four months seems such a long time at the beginning, but it always goes so quickly when we get going.