The Creative Conservators Kit

Inspiring families to engage with the role of conservation at the Queen's House

16 Jun 2022

Katie Cassels, Families and Young People Manager at Royal Museums Greenwich, writes about how the new Creative Conservators Kit for families was developed at The Queen’s House.


Heritage Learning at the Queen's House

The Queen’s House is a former royal residence, now home to an internationally renowned art collection and a part of Royal Museums Greenwich in South London.  

the Queen's House


As a free site in Greenwich, the Queen’s House can provide a cheap day out for audiences at a time when the cost of living is stretching family finances. However, conversations with families demonstrate that many adults visiting with children don’t feel confident finding ways to engage younger visitors with an art collection. Throw in the historic house location and many feel that the space isn’t for them. Fears of behavioural expectations, not knowing enough about the art and children getting bored, is preventing many families from visiting.  

In October 2019, the Queen’s House hosted the Kids in Museum’s ‘Where’s Wally’ trail during half term. Over that week there was a visible increase in the number of families visiting the site. However, the trail and the increase in families was temporary.

It was clear that supporting resources, however loosely they connected to the site, increased confidence to visit.  

Other sites at RMG, including the National Maritime Museum, have an established presence of self-led resources available daily for families. These resources have been developed following extensive consultation and are a well-used resource for families across the year. With this and the ‘Where’s Wally’ trail in mind, we felt that developing self-led resources for the Queen’s House would be an effective engagement tool for families and could perhaps also drive family visits to the site.  

In April 2021 we launched the ‘Create’ trail, encouraging families to engage with the art in the House and the creative process. The trail aimed to support families to more confidently engage in art, as well as engage with art. ‘Create’ was well received by families but we felt  that there was an opportunity to present a more tactile experience for families at the House. Choosing the format of a kit of tools felt like the perfect medium for introducing families to think about conservation.  


The Creative Conservators Kit

Conservation is a huge part of Museum work, keeping historic collections and sites accessible for now and future visitors, and RMG has encouraged visitors to engage with this skilled work previously, through films including the conservation and restoration of the Armada Portrait, through projects including with young people at the Prince Philip Maritime Collection Centre, and more. With its role as both historic house and art gallery, the Queen’s House is a wonderful location to encourage children to discover conservation and, in turn, the theme of conservation is a brilliant way in for children to engage with the site, the building and the collection.  

Creative Conservators Kit.jpg
© Katie Cassels The kit provides 5 tools: a magnifying glass, frames, a felted moth larvae, ‘conservation cards’ and fabrics.


The ‘Creative Conservators Kit’ was developed from the understanding that families may know nothing about conservation. One key aim then being to make the world of conservation more accessible to a wider demographic of people.

Resources like this kit can give an insight into this world at a very early age, raising awareness and inspiring children, as well as supporting adults to answer technical questions.  

With this in mind, the kit explains what conservation is and uses agents of deterioration as a central theme. To support exploration, the kit provides 5 tools: a magnifying glass, frames, a felted moth larvae, ‘conservation cards’ and fabrics. Guiding the families to use the kit is a printed, reusable guide.  

The kit presents families with the flexibility to use any of the tools in any order, or to think of new ways to use the tools to explore the theme in the House. Most of the tools and suggested activities can take place anywhere, using any object, allowing children to lead their own journey and find objects or spaces that they connect with.

However, each tool has been purposefully included to respond to an aspect of conservation, whether thinking about the impact of pests, or thinking about how restoration and conservation takes place.   

The resuable guide has been designed by Somang Lee to give a sense of place, reflecting the beauty of the House and the artworks; this stemming from the core belief that families can fully appreciate art and architecture when supported to do so.  

Created with the support of colleagues from across the Museum, including Conservation, we hope that families are inspired by the kit to look closely, to think about skills used within conservation, and to see the House and the artworks from a new perspective.  


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