Chiddingstone Castle was the home of Denys Eyre Bower between 1956 and 1977. Denys was a passionate collector who devoted his life to the collection of beautiful art and artefacts, many of which are on display.
Denys wanted to share his passion for objects of beauty with other people and so displayed his collections in the castle for the public. On his death in 1977, in order that people could continue to view his treasures, he bequeathed his life’s work to the Nation.
The National Trust refused to accept the bequest, despite impassioned pleas from Ruth Eldridge, citing the lack of sufficient funds to preserve the collections and castle. After nearly 7 more years relentless effort and work, Ruth Eldridge succeeded in persuading the High Court to order the formation of a private trust. Today the Trustees of Denys Eyre Bower are very proud to continue his legacy by opening Chiddingstone Castle to the public for much of the year.
The work in the Curatorial department does never end as we have the duty of preserving and displaying Denys' collections for the enjoyment of the public. We are currently auditing the collection, in order to have an updated view of the objects and how we can improve their care and display. This will also assess the general state of the collection and identify underused objects which can be loaned to other institutions in the country. Our team is very small and this is a painstaking job that we would be unable to do without the help of our commited collections volunteers and interns.
We are also working towards Museum Accreditation. This is the scheme set by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council for all museums in the UK. It helps institutions to improve and develop the use of their collections and the services given to the public. We are aiming to submit our application by May 2013. Wish us Good Luck!
How you can help
Donations. There are many ways in which you can help us preserve the Castle's collections for the future. As an independent trust, we receive no public funding and rely only on private donations, weddings, private functions and the income generated by our tea room and gift shop. We welcome any donation as nothing is too small.
Adopt an Object. You can also adopt an object from only £8.50. There are many benefits to adopters such as regular updates on the object's conservation and display, a family pass and invitations to private events. How about offering your grandchild the adoption of an Ancient Egyptian God or Goddess?
Volunteer. Volunteers are an invaluable source of help and we, literally, couldn't do it without them. Volunteers may undertake different tasks depending on their skills and experience, but mainly on their interests. If you have an interest in history, heritage or any of our collections, volunteering in the curatorial department is extremely rewarding as you get a closer look at the objects and learn more about them. For more information, have a look at our volunteering section.
For more information about the collections and how you can help, please contact us on 01892 872 747 or email@example.com