I've just got back from the second of two one-day workshops run by the Trust that I've been on. Last week Ailsa and I went to Hill of Tarvit for one of the regular Collection Care courses. There are three of these each year with an annual theme so it's possible to attend regularly and learn something new each year. This year the theme was light and the damage it can do. Most of the instruction is done in small groups and I was lucky to start with the session on light. The opening 10 minutes on light and electro-magnetic radiation was a reprise of high school physics and stuff I was used to from my past life. However the practical session with light metres was quite illuminating (I had to get that in). A clear demonstration of the beneficial effect of simply drawing blinds and moving away from the window. The other sessions were on the recognising the effects of light on wood and paper and effective preventative measures as another theme of the day was that prevention was much more effective than cure. The fourth session was concerned with mitigating the impact light-fingered (the speaker's words this time) on the Trust's collection. A worthwhile day with bits that definitely apply to Smail's.
Today Gen, Rachel and I were in Falkland for a workshop on Costumed Interpretation - or a Dressing-up Course as I irreverently put it. We discussed what was meant by costumed interpretation and the role of costumes and props. (Props we realised are things that we use all the time at Smail's with or without costumes). We learnt the difference between First Person (you become the person and stay in role the whole time - difficult to sustain for non-actors) and Third Person (you wear a costume and represent some real or imagined historical person but interact with visitors as a 21st century guide). Finally we had a go using basic costumes and a few props. Another good day which will have an impact on we do our Living History days.
Unfortunately we had no chance to visit the properties. Hill of Tarvit is an Edwardian Country House set in some rather nice grounds near Ceres in Fife. Here at least the workshop was in the property. At Falkland we were in the old Town Hall which the Trust owns and the room we were in was nondescript - I hope the Council Chamber is grander. We saw no more of Falkland Palace than you'd see driving past which was a little disappointing.