Conservation at Oxburgh Hall

The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall

The collection at Oxburgh Hall is maintained and conserved by our House Team. Find out how they make sure that Oxburgh can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.

Checking for Light Damage on Textiles

Look out for the gold coloured sofa in the Library, this was once a rich, vibrant red! Light exposure can be very damaging to textiles, it may not be very noticable from day-to-day but over time the colours of the fabrics, carpets, curtains and even wallpapers will fade irreversably. We cannot totally prevent light damage, though we try to limit it as much as possible. The windows at Oxburgh are lined with UV film or blinds to stop UV light from getting to the objects. Also the amount of light in each room is monitored and checked yearly to make sure that it is at a 'safe' level for the collection.

 

 

Dusting the Wood

Dust can be harmful to objects, so every morning before the doors open to visitors the House Team gently dusts the wood surfaces in each room with soft cloths. The next time you visit us think about all of the wood in each room, every wooden panel and every intricate carving is given care and attention. 
 
 
 
 
The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall during its annual clean.
The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall during its annual clean.

 
 
 

Conservation Heating

In the summer months, you might brush against a radiator and find that it is warm. This is not because someone has accidentally has turned it on, this is actually to regulate the Relative Humidity inside the House. The Relative Humidity (or RH) is the amount of water vapour in the air. If the RH is too high, metal objects will begin to corrode and moulds may grow on the books in the library. Alternatively if the RH is becomes very low some objects, made from materials such as wood and ivory, will shrink and cracks will appear on the surface. Regulating the RH is therefore very important (especially as Oxburgh is surrounded by water) and so all of the heating in the House is controlled by a system that monitors the Relative Humidity and turns the radiators on and off when needed: even if it's hot and sunny outside!

 

The Battle Against Pests

All sorts of bugs and insects find the organic objects in the collection particularly appetizing. The taxidermy in is a very tasty morsel for many different pests. To protect the collection objects are surveyed annually to make sure no damage has occured over the year. Also pest traps are placed in the rooms to reduce the amount of insects in the House.

 

 

The House Conservation Assistant wraps ceramics for the winter deep clean
The House Conservation Assistant wraps ceramics for the winter deep clean

Deep Cleaning

Once a year certain objects in the collection are given a more in depth clean, such as the ceilings and walls. Most of this cleaning occurs over the winter months when the House is closed to visitors, however you can see some of it happening during the annual chandelier clean. Every crystal drop from the 1,957 piece chandelier is removed, carefully washed and placed back in the same position it came from: a job that takes around three days to complete.