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Staff Outing

December 12, 2013

On Tuesday we had a sort of staff outing to our neighbouring (ish) NT property and a large art gallery in Newcastle.

Wallington is about 15 miles south-west of Cragside and is another large property which attracts around 200,000 visitors to their estate each year. The hall is a large 300 year old home lived in by 10 generations of the Blackett and Trevelyan families.

Wallington

Wallington

We visited as they have recently had Eyemats installed. These clever mats cover the original carpets with a photographic copy (on fabric) so that a visitors overall impression of the room is unspoilt by a secondary carpet (known as a drugget) that they would be allowed to walk on, now they can freely flow around the room as the original carpet is protected by the Eyemat.

The Eyemats are very effective but are quite costly, not least because the original floor (which could be carpet, wood or even stone) needs to be photographed in high-resolution to be replicated on the mat.

The visit was also a nice chance to catch up with the House team there, and it was interesting to hear that the winter cleaning routine there has recently changed. At Cragside we still aim to pack away all the small objects and do a deep clean of the rooms. At Wallington, due to increased opening times, it is no longer possible to fit in a full pack-away. They do a deep clean but have to leave everything out.

 Following a quick pub lunch, we headed into Newcastle to the Laing Art Gallery for a behind the scenes look at how they manage their collections. I was particularly taken with their painting store. The room was large and had two banks of pull-out “walls” which meant all the framed works were hung. Heres an example photo from the manufacturer’s website:

Wire mesh walls. Photo © Oracle Shelving Solutions

Wire mesh walls. Photo © Oracle Shelving Solutions

It meant that they could fit so much more in, as one wall was only about 10 inches from the next. Pulling them out also meant that there was plenty of room to access each frame when needed.

All in all a great day, it is so useful to see how other people approach the kind of challenges we face here at Cragside. I wonder if our building team could knock me up some of those sliding walls…

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