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2 Apr 2019

Newhailes House reopens for the summer season

Written by Mark McLean (VSS Learning & Collections – The Lothians)
Newhailes House Cherry Blossom Exterior
The courtyard of Newhailes House from April to May is adorned by cherry blossom trees.
Newhailes House reopens on Good Friday (19 April) for guided tours after our annual winter shutdown, as conservation work continues.

Each winter, we close Newhailes House for essential care and maintenance. This year the work we’ve been doing has been markedly different. In the last few years, high levels of clothes moth population have been detected in the house. Because of this, our conservation team has been working hard all winter on a special moth elimination project in an attempt to try to limit the numbers of these pesky fabric eaters!

Newhailes team rolling up one of the library carpets for freezing
The team roll up one of the library carpets for freezing.

One of the treatments we’ve been employing is freezing our precious collections. Our giant freezers run at very low temperatures (-30°C and below) and kill not just adult moths, but also their eggs and the larvae, which are actually responsible for the damage. All of the collections have been carefully examined before being meticulously wrapped and sealed for freezing. We have four floors of collection, which amounts to over 1,000 individual items!

Newhailes library polar bear skin rug
One of our trickiest items to treat – the library polar bear skin.

As this work will continue into the spring, we’ll tell the fascinating story of the project as part of a historical tour of Newhailes House. This will include insights into the freezing process, shedding light on the various methods we use to deep clean the house, and talking about how we care for our precious collection. Some areas normally on the tour will be inaccessible during the ongoing work.

Guided tours of the house leave at 11.30am and 1.30pm, Thursday–Monday. The house tour will last just over an hour.

The house can be accessed by these guided tours only – advance booking is advisable as each tour is limited to 15 visitors. To book, please call 0131 665 1546 or email

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