Up, close and personal with Killertons finest - trainee Charlie Critchley

Published : Tue 28th Feb Author : National Trust

Hello everyone, I’m Charlie and at present I am working at two National Trust properties: Killerton in Devon and Trerice in Cornwall. I am a trainee on the Heritage Skills Passport training program based at both properties. Killerton is a house that has split personalities. The first floor is about the Acland family who had lived in the house from late 18th century until WW2.The second floor has the costume collection given to the Trust from the Paulise de Bush who spent most of her life collecting.Trerice is an Elizabethan manor house with a 1950s twist inside- strange but true!!!!!!!

For the past six months I have been kept very busy. My daily routine involves working with the house conservation team to keep the properties clean and dust free.As well as learning about the care of house collection I have learnt how to clean the costumes on display during the year. During the winter clean I had to clean a 19th century purple silk dress with a fine Pony hairbrush and a special museum vacuum. Together with a work colleague we removed the dust methodically from top to bottom. There was more dust at the top because this is where it settles. The dust was so bad it was flowing in the air as we were brushing it off. After we finished I felt very satisfied and a job well done.

To celebrate the queen’s jubilee this year, Killerton’s historic fashion exhibition is “Gems” featuring the best of the collection. For my part I have been selecting the finest Silhouettes. My work involved locating them using our collections managment system (CMS) and once that was completed ,together with my mentor Shelley we selected 12 completely different silhouettes – fousing on size, artists and how it was made. Once the condition reports were written for each one I had to clean them all. Once again a fine Ponyhair brush together with a museum vacuum was used to remove the dust and dirty. For the glass I used cotton wool and water removing all the dirt caused by bad storage. My last task was to write a brief description label for each one on display.

Part of my training gives me the opportunity to job shadow another trainee at their property to get an idea of the type of conservation work they do. For my first job shadowing experience I decided to work at an auction house inCornwall. I spent 3 days working with them, helping with the cataloguing by taking photos and sorting out items that came into the auction house a week before.

I had great fun. The staff made me feel very welcome and part of their team. It was a great place to learn and it expanded my knowledge as I had the opportunity to handle different types of objects around the auction house. 

Republished by kind permission from the NT Passport To Your Future blog (http://ntpassporttoyourfuture.wordpress.com)