In an important change of policy, the National Trust has decided to lift some of the many restrictions which had led to criticisms that it was being too museum-like in it’s approach to its wonderful country houses. The new strategy is designed to give visitors more of flavour of how a house might have been used when it was a home.
This vision was inspired, at least in part, by the experience of the NT chairman Simon Jenkins, when visiting Chatsworth House in Derbyshire which is still the family home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire as well as one of the finest homes in private ownership in Europe. Visitors often find that the Duchess has joined them and rooms show the momentoes and items found in any home.
The NT accepts that this will increase the wear-and-tear on the properties and inevitably some mistakes will be made. The expertise and experience of the Trust should ensure that the correct controls are still in place where appropriate as no-one wants to see damage to delicate fabrics, books or paintings. The new atmosphere of exploration and freedom will hopefully enhance the visitors experience and allow them to appreciate the house as it was intended to be; as a home.
Full story: ‘Welcome to Britain’s stately home from homes‘ [The Times]