Hello! Please introduce yourself:

Hi, I’m Antonia Keaney – the Social Historian at Blenheim Palace, a fantastic attraction within easy reach of the Great West Way!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the variety and also finding out new things and facing new challenges - every time I discover something, I also discover there’s far more left to learn.

What’s a typical day like for you?

There is no typical day - I can be interviewing someone for a podcast one day, another day I might be helping to research information for an exhibition or, bizarrely enough, I might find myself acting as a chauffeur to one of the country’s top designers or taking part in a TV programme!  Life is never dull.

Blenheim Palace Interior

Do you work with a wider team? If so, tell us a bit about them:

I work as part of the Operations team - there are so many people in the team with so many talents - everyone pulls together to get things done and there’s always someone to ask if you need a bit of inspiration, a helping hand, or just a coffee and a chat!

What do you find inspiring day-to-day? What keeps the enthusiasm going?

Blenheim Palace is an inspiration - looking at different ways of making the place relevant and bringing its history to life is a joy.

Any interesting or funny anecdotes related to your role or your experiences with visitors that you can share?

Where to begin…when I had collected the designer I mentioned, and was en route with him back to Blenheim, my phone rang - it was my daughter.  It’s unusual for her to call during the day, so I answered it.  Without any preamble, and on speakerphone, she proceeded to tell me that she had just had to collect her son from nursery as he was projectile vomiting… She was in full flow and went into some detail about his ailments. All this whilst the gentleman next to me sat very still and very straight faced… I eventually managed to stop her and told her I would call her back… I turned to said gentleman and apologised for having subjected him to such domestic trifles… I’m sure it’s not the type of call he is used to listening to. He gave a wry smile and proceeded to match this story with one of his own which, I’m happy to say, had been just as mortifying!

What’s your favourite thing to eat or drink at Blenheim Palace

I love a fish finger sandwich in the Stables Café and, when the weather improves, a skinny, iced latte!  Oh, for the champagne Bar that used to be on the Water Terraces!

Blenheim Palace Aerial

What do you think will surprise first-time visitors to Blenheim Palace

The sheer scale and beauty of the place - and the friendliness of the staff.

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