What happens at Bamburgh Castle once all the visitors have gone home? Director Chris Calvert tells us what the team will be doing over the winter months to improve the visitor experience in 2018
And breathe ...!
Because that’s sometimes how it feels at the end of the summer as we dash from one day to the next ensuring that each and every visitor gets the best experience they can. An almost endless cycle of mending and repairing the interactives - that’s why we make our own and don’t ‘risk it’ with fancy electronic interactives that break and require a technician from furthest reaches of the planet to fix it.
Any now we’ve arrived at and past the summit, August Bank Holiday Weekend, and are now safe in the knowledge that we can handle anything thrown at us between now and next August! That doesn’t mean to say we sit back and cruise for the next year At the end of the day, each and every one of them, we’re thinking how can make this better, slicker, more fun, more cost efficient for the visitors next year. This is what the winter months are for, as a little bit of brain capacity gets freed up to allow for some free thinking, reflection and deliberation.
So what are we going to get up to over the next few months? Well, let’s see now. A huge drive on interpretation as we’ve decided, at last, on how we want to do it and no, there won’t be any touch screens or PIR activated motion sensors. We’re sticking with traditional technology and producing a series of ‘shelf’ talkers and leather (artificial) binders. No animals were injured in the making of this interpretation! We’ll be getting a couple more floors sanded back and treated now that we’ve found a man we trust with a great product. This floor has had nearly 500,000 feet across it in two seasons and still looks like new. So this winter it will be the Cross Hall and perhaps the Kings Hall as weddings are on the increase again.
The biggest job by far is the deep clean. A team of three staff led by our Collections and Conservation Manager carefully remove a season’s build up from the thousands of objects on display. Microfibre cloths (best thing since sliced bread), pony hair brushes and vacuum cleaners will be pressed into use. There’ll be a couple more paintings going away to the specialist for cleaning and repairing, joined this year by a couple bits of furniture. As for the building itself, there’s remedial work to be done on a couple of apartments and the creation of messing facilities for our hardworking maintenance team. Outside we get to back fill one of the archaeological trenches and seed it as well as attack more of the invasive ivy that keeps trying to lay siege to the castle walls.
This will bring us back to February where we’ll take deep breath and start all over again! But you know what? We love it!