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Gemma

Gemma WEBBERLEY

Year of Award: 2008 Award State: Tasmania None > Museums, Galleries And Libraries
The Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to examine the sustainable practices required to maintain house museums in the 21st Century - U.K.
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I am a Tasmanian, born on the Northwest Coast but living in Hobart for over 30 years. Tourism and Hospitality were the industries I worked in before being employed by the National Trust in 1991. As Property Manager of Runnymede I have a varied role which incorporates tourism, hospitality, volunteer management and caring for a heritage building and collection. I had just turned 50 when I undertook my Fellowship – perfect timing for my family, as my three sons had left home, allowing me more time to concentrate on study.

The aim of the Fellowship was to identify innovative practices which help managers of house museums to address some of the challenges facing heritage properties in the twenty-first century. The study included preventative conservation housekeeping; building maintenance and its role in conservation; and climate change and its impact on interiors and collections. Organisations I visited included the National Trust UK, Spitalfields Trust, Bath Preservation Trust, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and English Heritage.

The Fellowship allowed me to build on my skills, find new ways of caring for interiors and collections and broaden my understanding of conservation housekeeping. From cleaning interiors with the Stewards at Waddesdon Manor to climbing the Tower of London (on the outside) to view repair work, it was a remarkable journey, and one that has continued since I returned. I have used the skills and knowledge gained to supervise significant building and interior conservation works for the National Trust at Runnymede. The Fellowship has also allowed me to pass on my knowledge through talks and presentations to the community and individuals caring for heritage places. The Fellowship has inspired me to continue to learn and understand the relationship between caring for interiors and collections and maintaining heritage buildings. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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