St Mary’s Church, Iffley
Visitors to the SEAHA mobile heritage lab at St Mary’s Church, Iffley, said, ‘We thought the stones lab was brilliant!’ ‘Such a great idea and so appreciated by all of us!’ They were intrigued to find themselves exploring state-of-the-art technology, excited to be able to ask questions about the microscopes and relieved to be able to consult experts about the care of the stonework and carvings on this 850-year-old building. We owe Professor Heather Viles, Dr Scott Orr and all the research students our warmest thanks for their hard work before and during the visit, and for welcoming us into the lab with such genuine enthusiasm.
Well over a hundred visitors of all ages came to the Mobile Heritage Lab at Iffley Church. The team’s obvious passion for their subject encouraged wide-ranging questions, the most urgent being about how best to protect and preserve the 12C sculptures on the exterior of the church. Was the somewhat startling shelter-coat that was re-applied in 2017 really the best way of looking after our heritage? The answer was a convincing Yes, and the Strachey firm was uncompromisingly described as setting the Gold Standard for stone conservation. The SEAHA team was voted as ‘a communicative and enthusiastic collaborator on our engagement events at Iffley Church’.
For us in Iffley we gained a real insight into what stone is – what it is made of and how it breaks down. This is a never-ending concern for us. The shelter-coat will need renewing in 30 years time. Thank you, SEAHA, for helping us engage with this responsibility with a much deeper understanding and with delight.
Penny Tyack Activity Co-ordinator, Living Stones Education Programme St Mary's Church, Iffley 26 July 2019
Mobile Heritage Lab visit to the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth
In July 2017 the SEAHA mobile heritage lab visited the Mary Rose Museum for two days, to coincide with the start of Archaeology week. Along with the lab came two SEAHA students working on Mary rose projects, who worked alongside the conservation team. It was also supported by a team of our volunteers who set up shop next to us with a display of replicas.
The aim of this event was to show the public how critical science and engineering is to the Mary Rose, for determining our conservation strategies and also for our understanding of the artefacts. The lab was absolutely brilliant in terms of ease of use and adaptability for incorporating kit. We used some of the kit already in there and added in some of our own.
The event was a huge success and certainly showed a new side of the Mary Rose museum to a number of our visitors. In addition, it was a great opportunity for the PhD students to interact with our team and for the staff to learn more about all the science research going on.
The support of the SEAHA team not only during the event, but in the lead up to it, was exceptional. All in all a fabulous facility, which I hope I will manage to use again!
Dr Eleanor Schofield Head of Conservation & Collections Care Mary Rose Museum 27 October 2017
Mobile Heritage Lab visit to The Vyne, National Trust
We were delighted that you, your students, scientists and the mobile laboratory were able to join us for several visits during our roof restoration project this year.
The level of interest you generated from our visitors was very high and the enthusiasm shown by those who came to your laboratory was great to see. You helped to attract visitors of all ages from all walks of life: children and young people were really impressed with being able to touch and use the instruments. Your students and scientists dealt with the large groups and barrages of questions very well, and we could see their confidence growing as the days went on. They were soon able to speak to our visitors in ‘normal’ language without jargon, and learned how to impart their obviously high levels of knowledge very effectively.
I also know you and your teams had some excellent conversations with your people who are considering conservation and similar studies, so thank you for taking the time to do this. Overall, we would really like to have you back virtually every weekend but we understand your commitments and those of the mobile lab. Please thank your colleagues (particularly Josep!) for their time and expertise.
Gillian Duckworth Communication & Engagement Officer The Vyne, National Trust 26 July 2017
National Museum Wales
Thanks to excellent planning, facilitated by Josep Grau-Bove, we planned a number of experiments and analyses that were carried out successfully during the 2-day visit. This helped us answer some important questions affecting the care of our collections, for example on the effectiveness of the museum’s air filtration system, on the concentrations of VOCs in collection stores, and cryptic sources of heat to some wall-mounted display cases. We had organised a visit by A-level students from a local school, for which the Mobile Heritage Lab provided a great focal point for explaining the multi-disciplinary nature of heritage science. The students then undertook, under the guidance of SEAHA postgraduate students, their own pollutant survey at the museum. At the same time, we also managed to interest many museum visitors in the mobile lab. The second day of the lab’s visit coincided with a high level meeting involving some museum trustees who had been encouraged to see the mobile lab for themselves after the meeting. Josep and his team managed to inspire the trustees and even spark some interesting ideas. All in all, the Mobile Heritage Lab provided an important platform for investigating some collection care problems, providing public outreach and even internal stakeholder advocacy.
Christian Baars Senior Preventive Conservator National Museum Wales 18 July 2017