This year Heritage Open Days is working with Icon (Institute of Conservation) to raise awareness of the work of conservators, particularly through matching local sites with experts. Here are some of the fantastic events happening across the country this September where you can find out more…
What makes a clock go tick tock?
Discover the inner working of some special clocks at this museum of many marvellous things from Roman floor tiles to a roof top WWII Air raid siren. Horologist (that’s a clock wizard!) Dale Sardeson will be working on some of the museum’s beautiful time pieces that were made by local clockmaker Thomas Walder.
You can appreciate clock cases from an aesthetic perspective, but it’s only when you get to look behind the dial that you really understand the technology and engineering prowess of the historic craftspeople who made these clocks.
Tinkering with time
Consult your local horologist on just how to keep those clocks ticking over the years. (© Dale Sardeson)
What happens after the dig (or dive)?
What lies beneath the stunning gardens at Stowe? And what happens after you dig something up? Head to the courtyard at Stowe to find out as two experts from the National Trust will be on hand to show you hidden collections and talk about how they care for them once out of the ground.
What lies beneath?
Neat grounds & still waters hide layers of history, but what happens when objects are brought to the surface? (© National Trust Peter Adams)
The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hampshire
If you’re more of a sea sailor than a land lover, head to Hampshire for two special events showcasing unique marine marvels and how they are cared for once out of the water.
What is a book worm?
If you love books, not just the stories they contain, but the books themselves, then you should definitely pop along to this event. Book conservator Katarina Kelsey will peel back the layers that make up these wonderful artefacts, show you how the very ink used to write on the pages can eat away at them, what other things eat away at them, and how she protects them.
Keeping books beautiful
Chat to Katarina about preserving your favourite stories from the not so friendly bookworms! (© Katarina Kelsey)
What’s bugging the conservator?
Chat with the conservators at this pop up stall and you might never look at your home the same way again! Find out about the creepy-crawlies that can damage collections in historic houses, and how you can stop them.
Can you spot the difference?
Get hands on at these events to unravel the mysteries of textiles and their conservation. A mix of talks, tours and workshops will help you explore the differences between fabrics, fibres and the dyes used to colour them.
Spot the difference
Try your hand at unravelling fibres and discover more about the different dyes used to colour them. (© The People's History Museum)
How do the colours stay bright?
Fan of Impressionist paintings? Then take a special studio tour to learn how the discovery of new pigments enabled artists to create such colourful works. If paint's not your thing though – there are reserve collections to discover and experts with advice on looking after your heirlooms too.
Not all studios are in modern buildings! Check out the story of pigments and paint in St Mary's Church. (© Lancashire Conservation Studio)
How does it all connect?
Heard the old rhyme, ‘tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor'? Well, how about Conservator, Archivist, and Curator? Take a tour with the team and see how each of their areas of work fits together to create a treasured collection that you can visit.
Delve deeper… Conservation studios
Go behind the scenes and dive deeper into the work and world of conservators on these studio tours.
Rising from the deep
Get the low down on the resurrection of this merman (© Karoline Sofie Hennum and Historic Dockyard Chatham)
Beyond the sea
- Behind the scenes of the Mary Rose collection (Portsmouth, Hampshire)
- Collection tours of The Historic Dockyard (Chatham, Kent)
- Norfolk Record Office (Norwich, Norfolk)
- Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham (Nottinghamshire)
- Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (Coventry, West Midlands)
- Open laboratories, Conservation & Museums Advisory Service (Chippenham, Wiltshire)
PLEASE NOTE - These events were accurate at the time of publication but the details may change. Some events require pre-booking. Please check the individual entries for updates and details.
Find out more
- Introducing conservation and the work of Icon
- Festival Spotlights - Like this post? Explore more event highlights!
- What's on? - Search for more fascinating events
Delve deeper with these spotlights on some of the conservators taking part this year: