05 Sep 2022
by Sarah Holloway

A conservator looks through a large freestanding magnifying glass to complete intricate work on a small item
So many stories to tell, from archaeology to zoology, conservation has a role in it all! (© CMAS Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre)

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?

Arundel Museum, West Sussex

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. (© Dale Sardeson)

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.

Dale Sardeson

Arundel Museum - 2022

What happens after the dig (or dive)?

Stowe, Buckinghamshire

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. (© 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?

Wandle Industrial Museum, Greater London

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. (© Katarina Kelsey)

What’s bugging the conservator?

Quebec House, Kent

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?

The People’s History Museum, Greater Manchester

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. (© The People's History Museum)

How do the colours stay bright?

Lancashire Conservation Studios & Collections, Lancashire

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?

Treasure House, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire

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. (© Karoline Sofie Hennum and Historic Dockyard Chatham)

Beyond the sea
Dazzling documents
Museum miscellanies

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

Icon interviews

Delve deeper with these spotlights on some of the conservators taking part this year: