Preservation, Protection and Sustainability: The Benefits

Updating old systems and creating greater stability within the museum environment has been crucial to the long term care of Fairfax House’s important collections and historic fabric. These adaptions and improvements have also made it possible for Fairfax House to confidently exhibit and loan works from major national lenders, in line with GIS guidelines – seeing works installed throughout the property, not just in its bespoke exhibition space.

This was made a reality in 2017 when Fairfax House held its biggest and most ambitious exhibition to date, ‘Made in York; Inventing and Enlightening the Georgian City’ (5th May – 12th November 2017). This exhibition worked with 30 different lenders and was spread throughout the whole of the house, where it told the compelling and hitherto neglected story of the ‘enlightened’ craftsmen, artists, scientists, philosophers and philanthropists who flocked to York between 1680 and 1820. Were it not for the huge improvements made in the house many of the loans integral to this exhibition and their display throughout the building’s historic interiors would not have been possible.

We are incredibly grateful to the organisations and funding bodies who have supported us in the process of updating Fairfax House. We are immensely proud that the house and museum is now given as a model of how a historic building, with all the limitations this imposes, can achieve enviable environmental stability and secure the recognition of nation lending institutions. This has all been achieved whilst maintaining the historic integrity of the building and without negatively impacting on visitor experience.