What to see at Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio
- Expert curated
The Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio is the first of its kind in the National Trust, allowing visitors the unique opportunity to watch conservators at work, working on objects from collections across the Trust. Find out what there is to see and do at this distinctive property, plus a bit more about the centuries-old building itself.
Combining old and new
Housed in a beautiful medieval barn, this state-of-the-art space is the only conservation studio at a National Trust property open to the public.
It’s a perfect mix of contemporary and historical; an airy, open-plan studio with exposed Kentish ragstone walls punctuated by the barn’s original narrow windows.
Entering the studio
The studio is accessed from the Brewhouse Café courtyard. A striking glass and metal staircase rises from the light-filled lobby to the floors above with the original pitched barn roof clearly visible.
The first floor is home to the conservation store; a humidity-controlled space containing historic items awaiting their turn on the conservator’s bench.
Although the windows have been blacked out to prevent light contamination, visitors have the unique opportunity to see inside using a timed light switch that illuminates the room for short periods.
An interactive approach
The main conservation studio is on the second floor: an impressive 35-metre open-plan room with a soaring pitched roof, rebuilt to match the 15th century original destroyed by fire in 1887.
Step inside the main studio area to watch the conservators at work. Interactive displays give visitors the chance to explore the materials, tools and techniques used in the conservation work.
Conservators use all of their senses in their duties, and other hands-on displays explain how all five senses are integral to working out treatment plans for objects.
When the studio is open, volunteers are on-hand to answer any questions and share stories about objects being conserved.
Visiting Knole House and Park
The conservation studio is just one part of the history, art and nature you can immerse yourself in at the Knole estate.
For more details and information about visiting Knole and to find out what’s on, check out the details on their web page.
Find out about the work of our team at the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio in Kent and how we help care for a large number of objects from properties all over the country.
Discover the history of this centuries-old building up to the present day, including the damaging fire of 1887 and its rebirth as the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio.