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Housekeeping days Until December 12

Visitors to certain National Trust properties can go behind the scenes during the winter to see the techniques employed by specialist conservators as they clean and restore collections and check for "woolly bears" (carpet beetle larvae). At Mr Straw's House in Nottinghamshire, for example, staff individually clean dozens of 80-year-old woollen socks and pants and more than 50 pairs of gentlemen's pyjamas. On "Putting to Bed" days, activities include the rolling and wrapping of precious rugs, the cleaning of wooden floors using paraffin and vinegar-soaked blankets and much more.

Tel: 0870 458 4000;

Space detectives Until February 6

Design your own lander to touch down safely on another planet and take part in a fun quiz about the Solar System at this exhibition at the Science Museum, London SW7. Special loans include the prototype parachute that will slow down the Huygens lander as it descends to Saturn's moon Titan, scale models of the Cassini, Huygens and Galileo spacecraft and miniaturised instrument parts from the Rosetta project. Free admission.

Tel: 0870 870 4868;

Science competition

The BBC and Wellcome Trust through the Imagine photo competition are inviting people to submit photographs representing their thoughts about how science is changing the world we live in, our minds and our bodies. For the secondary school category, up to seven images representing the work of a group can be entered. There is also an under-18 individual category. Prizes include photographic equipment to the value of pound;2,000 and a BBC media workshop for the winning group's class. Closing date: January 14.

Poetry competition

For the 2005 Christopher Tower poetry competition, full and part-time students aged 16-18 are being challenged by Christ Church, Oxford University, to submit poems on the theme of "Gravity" by February 28. First prize is pound;1,500 and pound;500 for the winner's school with pound;750 and pound;500 going to the second and third prize-winners. All winners are invited to attend the Christopher Tower summer school. Entries will be judged by poets Gillian Clarke and Peter McDonald and author Philip Pullman.

Tel: 01865 286591

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