Coming soon to Holkham: Stories of WONDER

April 29, 2024 | WONDER | 3 minute read

Since its inception, Holkham Stories has told the history of the estate and a new installation will map its vision and aims for the future.

Holkham’s history is a fascinating story of innovation and progress. A visit to Holkham Stories is a superb way to learn how the estate was built with bricks made on site and the role it played in the Agricultural Revolution.

This spring, the exhibition will be updated with the addition of a new exhibit to showcase Holkham’s sustainability and conservation strategy and its goal to become a carbon negative estate by 2040.

Sue Penlington, Holkham’s Sustainability Manager, is leading the project which will incorporate interactive displays that will evolve as the estate meets milestones on its sustainability journey.

“When we installed the original Field to Fork exhibition, it told the story of Holkham’s farming history and the relationship between the land and food production,” says Sue, “but that is just one aspect of the estate’s work and we evolved this into Holkham Stories which shares wider insights and information about our past, present and future.

“Following the launch of our sustainability and conservation strategy in 2020, we wanted to create a living exhibition within Holkham Stories to communicate what we are doing to make real, positive change to achieve our goals.

“Sustainability is a vast subject and to fit this into one room is a challenge. Our role is not to communicate the causes and effects of global warming, but instead to explain what we are doing at Holkham to tackle it. With this in mind, we wanted to inspire visitors to learn about our approach and make changes themselves.

Sketch of the new Holkham Stories room: Stories of WONDER

Making connections

“Stories of WONDER encompasses three goals – championing low carbon living, increasing natural capital and stamping out waste – and we’ve created a series of interactive displays to bring these to life. We wanted to make the subject of carbon more accessible, so we’ve created a model of the estate showing emissions and a beautiful tactile woven graph to represent projects to reduce these, which can be updated as we progress.

“For our treading lightly and stamping out waste goal, we’ve created an interactive display which tells Holkham’s composting story and shows how waste is collected from the café, turned into compost and delivered back to the Walled Garden to rejuvenate the soil. And for our pioneering environmental gain objective, we have a series of projected images of the reserve and woodland which take visitors outside of the room to showcase our landscape and journey. An abacus-style display allows visitors to see the effects of positive changes made across the estate.

“People can scan QR codes to learn more and we are hoping that Stories of WONDER will act as a springboard to further discovery. We want to inspire visitors to join us on our sustainability journey.”


This article is taken from the Holkham Gazette (Spring/Sumner 2024), written and edited by Daska Davis.

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