‘Knole Unwrapped’ has come to an end and whilst everyone is reflecting on the highlights and lessons learned for future projects, I contemplate what an enriching time this has been for me (and no doubt for other participants). My role was to help and support the Conservation Team, specifically by familiarising the participants with the iPads as well as meeting and greeting and generally looking after the participants throughout. I was also lucky enough to get a space on one of the intakes and became a participant myself, which gave me a chance to get more hands on with the objects we were uncovering each week.
Conservation is an entirely new field for me and I am enjoying every wonderful moment. It’s hard to pick one specific highlight from the project. Was it the intricate textiles such as Lady Betty’s sowing bag? The amazing patents of nobility dating back to Thomas Sackville’s time?
To be honest every item became a fascinating journey back in time, a search for answers and more importantly a search for new microscopic and potentially devastating damage. One feels like a Time Lord, being transported back to different eras on some mysterious mission.
Most items are condition checked, cleaned and repacked fairly speedily but some hold your interest longer. These are the real treasures, when you wish you had a time machine to really go back and find out who, what, where, when and quite often simply ‘why’? The craftsmanship (or womanship) is often breathtaking and some skills long lost, which makes these pieces so precious and important to the national heritage. So a big Thank You to the entire Conservation Team for taking time out of their busy schedule to initiate amateurs like me – you’ve inspired a new generation of budding conservationists!