OPP Day 19 – Final Day

I cannot believe that today was our final day of the Open Palace Programme! Luckily, I feel as though three weeks has been a perfect amount of time. To summarize, here are my top five experiences in no particular order.

  • Behind-the-scenes at Kensington Palace

Having the opportunity to see the textile collection at Kensington Palace was probably my overall highlight of the trip. Not only were we able to closely inspect three garments, but also, see the storage room. I made sure to note down specifics such as the design of the storage box labels and how the textiles are being conserved. Continue reading “OPP Day 19 – Final Day”

OPP Day 18 – Fulham Palace and Apsley House

Today was our final day of sessions for the Open Palace Programme! I will be writing a reflection of the entire program tomorrow so I will leave my final thoughts for then. This post will cover two sites – Fulham Palace and Apsley House. The former being the home of the Bishops of London until 1945 and the latter, home of the Duke of Wellington. At both sites we focused on interpretation techniques. I will be writing more on the activities than on the history of the sites. This is mainly because they are among the best we have experienced on the program. Continue reading “OPP Day 18 – Fulham Palace and Apsley House”

OPP Day 17 – British Museum

I want to start this post a little differently to what I have done before. This is mainly because the first two hours of our time at the British Museum was spent enjoying being visitors and noting the forms of interpretation evident in the Enlightenment Gallery. Although containing fantastic objects and a wealth of information, topics such as colonization etc were not mentioned which I found quite odd. The following are my Top Five objects in the Enlightenment Gallery! Continue reading “OPP Day 17 – British Museum”

OPP Day 16 – Hampton Court Palace

To prepare for this program, I enrolled in the online Future Learn – A History of Royal Food and Feasting course. The course was organized by Historic Royal Palaces alongside the University of Reading. It was a really wonderful introduction to food and royalty. Hampton Court featured quite significantly in the lectures so I was very prepared for a day at the Palace exploring and listening to the experts. We had three sessions that focused on conservation and curatorial practices. The morning was dedicated to learning about preventative and treatment conservation from Kathryn Hallett and Mika Takami. I do have more of an interest in preventative conservation having had amazing mentors, Monica Cronin, Virginia Gordon, and Kate Childlow, introduce me to some of the basics.

Continue reading “OPP Day 16 – Hampton Court Palace”

OPP Day 15 – Tower of London and Kensington Palace

Our morning began with a brief visit to the Tower of London. Here we met building conservator Alden Gregory who took us behind the scenes in the Byward Tower. The Tower was originally built as the third gate of defence on the outer wall in the 13th century. Today, the two levels of the tower are not open to the public. This is because the head Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) lives on the top floor and the middle floor contains a medieval mural in need of constant monitoring and preventative conservation.
We had the opportunity to explore the middle floor and point out important historical features and conservation efforts. We noted that there were curtains in the room blocking out natural light and humidity monitors to ensure favourable environmental conditions. After thirty minutes we headed to the learning centre to hear a lecture on the history of the Tower of London and of the Byward Tower mural/room.

Continue reading “OPP Day 15 – Tower of London and Kensington Palace”

OPP Day 14 – Bletchley Park

I was just notified this morning that yesterday’s blog post on the Tower of London was my 100th entry! Thank you to everyone who is reading for your support. I will endeavour to post 100 more and continue documenting everything museum/heritage in my life.

My post for today is on the amazing Bletchley Park located around an hours train ride from central London. I visited the site with four friends who are also on the program. We had a lovely day spending around three hours exploring the museums and wandering around the buildings. The site is pretty massive. There is a welcome centre, which provides a brief context to the site, a museum, the mansion, and five huts. Each offers a slightly different experience and forms of interpretation. Continue reading “OPP Day 14 – Bletchley Park”

OPP Day 13 – Tower of London

It was so wonderful to catch up with an old friend today and see the magnificent Tower of London! I have been thinking of how to write this blog post and there is just so much in the Tower I know covering everything would be confusing. It is definitely a place you would want to see more than once. Unless, of course, you can read and comprehend masses of information on a range of different topics in one go. I have decided to focus on some personal highlights of the Tower. Continue reading “OPP Day 13 – Tower of London”

OPP Day 12 – Transfer to London

This is more of an update than a blog post. This morning we said our farewells to Stowe and headed straight to London. Reflecting back on our time in Stowe it was wonderful to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and mass tourist destinations. It really did allow us to get to the core of some of the issues we are focusing on in our program. Continue reading “OPP Day 12 – Transfer to London”

OPP Day 11 – Stowe House

For our final day in Stowe we focused on the potential uses of heritage buildings. We had to select one of two heritage buildings to study in depth and suggest an alternative purpose. Our group selected the Queens Temple that is currently being used as an athletic equipment storage facility. The other option was the Menagerie which I will quickly summarize. The Menagerie was built in 1781 and now holds as the school shop. It would take approximately 1.7 million pounds to fully restore the building. In its current state, parts of the roof are caving in and there are large cracks in the foundations. The Menagerie was initially the private retreat of the Duchess of Buckingham and stored her aviary and orangery. It also functioned as a museum space to showcase the Duke’s collection. Continue reading “OPP Day 11 – Stowe House”

OPP Day 10.2 – Oxford

This afternoon we had four hours to explore the amazing city of Oxford. I am very lucky to have visited Oxford some years ago. This time I was desperate to visit the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museum. This is mostly because I have learnt so much about both museums in my master’s course. I was not quite prepared for the Pitt Rivers to say the least but more on that later. Continue reading “OPP Day 10.2 – Oxford”