Just north of Edinburgh is the gorgeous Hopetoun House, “Scotland’s finest stately home,” and also one of the few workplaces with an onsite deer herd.
Our morning commute involves a walk through Edinburgh’s New Town, a bus ride to the quaint village where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the bulk of “Kidnapped,” and a drive alongside the famous Firth of Forth bridges. And just as I start to get distracted by the flowers or rare sunlight on the bay, the road curves and the trees give way to Hopetoun’s stunning façade. If I was directing a Jane Austen movie, I would not shoot at Hopetoun House, primarily because viewers and actors both would get too distracted by the stunning architecture to follow the story.
For the next month, Hopetoun House will be the site of our heritage management internship. We were thrilled to learn that the staff has carefully catered our projects to match our skills and interests. I will be cataloguing Hopetoun’s splendid library; this is a daunting undertaking because I want to read every book in sight.
It goes without saying that Hopetoun House is an unparalleled working environment. We, the three Arcadia students, were given desks in the House for reading and research. One of my coworkers has settled into the red drawing room, which was used only a few weeks ago for filming of the drama “Outlander.” Not to be outdone, my “office,” the yellow drawing room, is the backdrop for numerous fashion photoshoots. I’ve since seen it in an issue of Vogue.
The Hopetoun staff have been incredibly kind, ensuring that we are adjusting well to the work. They have, however, made one crucial mistake: telling the American interns where to find the tea and biscuits. We are exercising great self-control to keep our rabid biscuit consumption at only nuisance level. Over the coming weeks, we will delve deeper into our projects and read up on the history of the estate, so that we can guide tours later in the placements. Until then, we will continue to work in unimaginable finery, and hope that another major movie is shot at the House during our stay.
Anna Cain is a student at Colorado College and is blogging from her summer abroad with the Scottish Heritage Management Internship Program in Scotland.