Six months of progress – cataloguing the NTS Collections
Wendy Turner, Project Reveal Manager, reviews progress from the first six months, drawing together all the work at properties and the magical discoveries we have made.
In July 2017, 25 Project Reveal team members came together at Hermiston Quay in Edinburgh to meet, discuss and learn the skills involved in Project Reveal. The task ahead: to catalogue, label and photograph the 100,000 objects in the care of the NTS.
Over the past six months we have blogged and tweeted about our work and our discoveries, and have catalogued and digitised over 20,000 objects, creating content for our collections management system. This will enable us to answer enquiries from the public and support curatorial and conservation staff in, amongst other things, creating exhibitions, undertaking research, creating stable environments in which to display and store the collections and managing remedial conservation.
We have worked at two castles, one palace, a Georgian town house, a Palladian house, a weaver’s cottage, a Highland longhouse, two museum stores and an agricultural museum.
We’ve also worked across Scotland in Maybole, Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Kilbarchan, Killin, Brechin, Pitmedden, Glenfinnan, Culross and Forres.
We’ve encountered ghostly happenings at Newhailes House, worked with Ben the cat at Pitmedden House and Garden, helped children and adults to find our Lego people (hidden within our properties), answered questions from visitors and given talks.
We’ve discovered interesting and unusual objects such as Grace ‘the unloved doll’ and a game to teach children how to read music. The key to a locked cabinet at Culross was opened for the first time in many years and another key opened a box revealing a golden telescope. We also found a fan that teaches us etiquette, the Christmas decorations belonging to the family at Newhailes and the wedding teapots for the women of Kilbarchan at Weaver’s Cottage. We’ve worked with property staff and volunteers and we’ve been supported by our curatorial, conservation and collections management colleagues.
We’ve documented and photographed all categories of collection that the Trust cares for and handled many different types of material including furniture, clocks, paintings, ceramics, decorative arts, agricultural implements and much, much more.
We’ve worked in a variety of settings – some cold and cramped, some huge and spectacular.
We’ve been featured in newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio.
We’ve been fueled by cake, biscuits, tea and coffee – made by us, made by volunteers and bought from the amazing cafés at our Trust properties.
This article is by Wendy Turner, Project Reveal Manager. Project Reveal is a multi-site digitization project of unprecedented scale. With your support, we can help the Trust manage its collections more effectively. Most important, we can help the Trust discover, better understand, and share its treasures with the world.
Please help us to secure this major investment in preserving Scotland’s heritage with a tax-deductible donation in support of Project Reveal.
This article was originally published by the National Trust for Scotland on January 31, 2018.