I’ve been having such a great experience through the Open Palace Programme!! It’s been a great group of people with helpful, wonderful mentors. I have been learning so much and taking tons of notes and photos; I’m probably still missing some things, but I think most of it should come back with me. The session leaders are so knowledgeable about their areas, and most of them have been just as interested in hearing our thoughts and perspectives as we are in hearing about them and how they do things.
Just thought I’d give a quick catch-up of what’s happened so far. We began in Bath, which actually has a lot more to offer than I originally assumed/remembered. There were a few things I just didn’t have time to see that I will enjoy seeing on a future trip. I really enjoyed seeing the city and its museums, churches, and attractions. Very helpful and informative sessions on visitors, conservation, and education through the museums of the Bath Preservation Trust.
Then a relaxing weekend in an old house a little bit out of Dorset, which included a dinner with an Historic Royal Palaces professional, David Souden. A trip to the coast a few miles away at Lyme Regis allowed us to walk on The Cobb like in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. On our way to the next location, we stopped at Stonehenge and had a quick informational session on the new visitor center.
This week has been in Buckingham at Stowe School and Stowe Preservation Trust, with one day at Blenheim Palace. The day at Blenheim included a short visit to Oxford. At Stowe, we’ve participated in a formal dinner with the Trust’s staff, conservation and restoration sessions, and visitor and collection sessions. Tomorrow we look at the National Trust’s gardens at Stowe. Then we’ll be on to London.
I’m so very glad I was able to participate in this programme and gain these experiences!