HMM Behind Closed Doors

By in Life at the Manor

Over the past 12 weeks Headstone Manor & Museum’s doors have been closed to visitors, staff and volunteers in-line with government advice to stop the spread of Covid-19. During this time only one member of staff has been given special permission to attend site to carry out a range of essential activities to ensure that our fantastic listed buildings, collections, facilities and wildlife are checked, maintained and cared for. What does this entail you might ask? We asked our Visitor Services Manager to take you on a behind the scenes look at a typical day on site during the lockdown. Please enjoy!

I have decided to cycle to site during the lockdown as to best avoid public transport and use the time as my physical activity for the day. Arriving on site, it always amazes me how quiet the everything is and how much more active the wildlife appears to be, now they have the place to themselves. First things first, I wash my hands, change and don my PPE.

I then complete building checks. All buildings are opened, intruder/fire alarms are checked, a 360-degree internal and external building inspection is carried out to ensure that any cracks, leaks or signs of damage to the building fabric are identified and reported A comprehensive pest check is then carried out to make sure no unwelcome visitors have taken up residence while the building has been closed. Pests are a major hazard for our listed buildings and collections, we keep comprehensive records so that trends can be identified.

We have many storerooms at the Museum which are not open to the public. These rooms house some of our more fragile collections so it is very important that their environmental conditions are maintained and checked regularly. We do this by using temperature and humidity meters. I check every monitor in every room and exhibition case as I do my rounds to ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary!

During the periods of consistent dry weather, I have ensured the museum plants are well watered and any invasive weeds around our listed buildings are removed before they can cause any damage. The roses have particularly enjoyed the weather recently and it’s a great shame that members of the public are unable to enjoy them.

The site relies on a biomass boiler to supply its buildings with hot water for climate control, heating and cleaning. This is checked to ensure it is working at optimal levels, that any minor faults are resolved and any major faults are immediately reported.

Any essential site visits by contractors are arranged, we then cover  housekeeping rules, distribute PPE and run through risk assessments. The work to maintain our listed buildings and grounds never stops and I am very proud to be ensuring everything is safe and ready for when we are allowed to let public back into our fabulous buildings.

Once all this is completed, I clean and disinfect areas that I have been in contact with during the day and tuck the site in for the evening!

I for one cannot wait to have the Museum re-open and be able to share our exhibitions, grounds and passion for local history with the community again in person. I will be here, keeping everything ready for you in the meantime.