Our collections – what have we got and where is it?

As you wander around our palaces you will see thousands of objects on display, from the magnificent tapestries of Henry VIII in the Great Hall at Hampton Court to the doll’s house played with by Queen Victoria when she was growing up at Kensington Palace. But how do we know that everything is where we think it is? As with any other business we need to do a regular ‘stock check’, it’s just that our stock contains thousands of priceless artefacts, ranging in size from a single button to a painting over five metres high. HRP’s collections management team and preventive conservators have spent the last two weeks out in the palaces working with colleagues from the Royal Collection Trust, who own many of the items. Using a digitally-accessed database, we check the inventory of each and every room, both in the display areas and behind the scenes, against what is actually there. We photograph and check the condition of each object and update the database accordingly.

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This means that we have an accurate record of this collection of over 32,000 objects across six sites and can be confident that we are caring for it and safeguarding it for the future. Five of HRP’s sites are accredited under the Arts Council England Museums Accreditation Scheme and good collections management is fundamental to the achievement and retention of this status

Rebecca Wallace, Registrar

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