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Conservation case study – Fulham Palace Trust
Ultraviolet filter and environmental monitoring equipment
Fulham Palace is a site that has been occupied for more than 6000 years. It is the historic summer residence of the Bishops of London, who first came here in 704AD and have played an active role in politics and religion ever since. Taken over by the Fulham Palace Trust in 2011, it is now a museum, botanic garden and public space. This year, the Trust finished a major restoration project which involved significant changes to our museum, historic rooms and garden, re-opening fully to the public in May.
The restoration opened up new spaces around our courtyard, expanding the size of our museum and creating a temporary exhibition room, through which we can share more of the Palace’s history than ever before. We also carried out work in our other historic rooms, including Bishop Porteus’s library, where new interpretation now tells the fascinating stories of the people who have lived here through the centuries.
As part of the restoration, an audit was undertaken to identify the measures needed to care for our expanded museum displays. The findings highlighted the need for UV filters on the windows in our museum and library, and updated environmental control equipment to ensure suitable, stable conditions for collections in our new exhibition space. With AIM’s support, we were able to purchase the equipment needed to make these updates.
We ordered bespoke UV filters to fit the unique windows in our exhibition room and library, which have now been installed and will limit the potential for light damage to the objects in these rooms. Doing this in the historic Porteus Library, built in 1814, has allowed us to secure a new loan of several Bishops’ portraits, from the Church Commissioners and Sion College. Without new filters, these paintings would be damaged by constant exposure to UV, and so would not have been able to hang there.
In our exhibition rooms we have also installed LUX/UV and Temperature and Humidity data loggers, which will monitor the environment’s heat, brightness and humidity. This will ensure that appropriate conditions are maintained to protect the items on display, which include several rare herbarium extracts on loan from the Oxford University Herbaria, World War 1 photo albums, and delicate wattle and daub segments from older parts of the Palace.
We are pleased to report that these new measures – made possible by our grant from AIM – have been installed successfully and are having the desired impact in terms of protecting our collection and at the same time giving us access to new loans. We would like to thank the Association for its generous support.