Appeal for Sevenoaks volunteers to get hands on Knole's unseen treasures
By kentsussex | Monday, February 04, 2013, 14:32
Knole in Sevenoaks is looking for people who literally want to get their hands on the house's unseen treasures.
Picture shows Sarah, Lucy and Melinda from the conservation team at Knole checking one of the house’s many small paintings
The National Trust venue needs several teams of volunteers who will learn how to check, analyse and re-pack all of its items in storage, handling rare and curious artefacts which may not have seen the light of day in years.
In the "Knole Unwrapped" project you could be learning how to "condition check" and care for anything from beautiful furniture, ancient picture frames and ceramics, right through to parchment documents.
The work will give people the chance to experience the central work of Knole and learn about the discipline of conservation itself.
It will also ensure the house's hidden collections are properly monitored, protected and made accessible for future generations.
Volunteers will train and work on six consecutive Tuesdays. There will be five of these six-week work periods throughout 2013.
Emily Watts, Knole House Steward, said that while most of Knole's hidden collection had been inventoried and condition checked in the past, everything in the National Trust's care needs regular checking and many new artefacts are waiting to be checked, inventoried and properly stored.
"Knole Unwrapped is a really exciting project to be involved in," she said.
"The work is long overdue and we really need the help of our community, alongside our existing volunteers, to make sure these precious objects are properly accounted for and stored.
"We're really looking forward to building up our teams of volunteers, who could consist of people who simply like the idea of conservation, people wanting to return to work, students and others looking to develop a career in conservation.
"We'll be training people in how to care for the objects we have here at Knole, and work will include unpacking, condition checking, cleaning, photographing and inventory marking objects, updating our records and repacking the collections to museum standards in better, more accessible ways.
"The conservation team is a friendly and growing department within Knole, where there is so much important work to be done.
"We would also like our volunteers to try researching some of the things we have in the hidden collections: who knows what we may find?"
Knole is looking for 30 volunteers in total, who will be paid travel expenses.
Applicants must be physically fit, with good hand/eye co-ordination and able to work in the cold: many rooms in Knole are unheated.
Holly Millett, Volunteer Development Manager, said: "Knole Unwrapped is a very important project for us, as it demonstrates how we want to create new opportunities in volunteering at Knole, both for our existing, fantastic volunteers and for people in the wider community.
"It is the forerunner of a series of opportunities linked to Knole's major project that will help us unwrap many areas of the National Trust's work for volunteers, including archaeological work and curating the house."
Applicants should contact Simon Blythe, Knole Volunteers Coordinator, for a Knole Unwrapped application form.
Call him on 01732 467159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org