We’re joined by Natalie Jones as we talk about natural history in all its forms: from taxidermy to fluid specimens! Jenny also talks to Lucie Mascord about becoming a natural history conservator, and Kloe talks to David Gelsthorpe about outreach and audiences for these collections. Also tune in for a ‘Dear Jane’ about unknown specimens and a review of ‘Dyes from Nature’ by Kloe!
00:00:53 News in brief
00:03:23 How do you become a natural history conservator anyway?
00:08:09 Are museums falling back in love with taxidermy?
00:13:08 Definition and range of natural history collections
00:15:54 Working with icky or scary things
00:23:18 Fixing fur with felting
00:28:55 Interview with Lucie Mascord
00:42:49 Terminology and the value of crib sheets
00:46:19 Interview with David Gelsthorpe
01:04:34 Our audiences
01:06:21 Review: ‘Dyes from Nature’
01:11:23 Dear Jane
01:15:11 Patreon shout-out
01:15:50 Questions, comments, corrections: our poll on being parents in conservation
We’re joined by guest host Vicky Singleton and have a chat about the world of military collections: what’s in them, how we feel about them, and what we do with them. Also tune in for an interview with Ian McCollum from Forgotten Weapons about researching and filming in museums.
00:40 Our experiences
06:42 Types of military museums in the UK
09:16 Jargon and language use
13:48 Working with veterans
16:08 Collecting, conserving, and ethics
27:23 Oversized objects
33:01 Funding landscape
35:06 Donations typically coming in
40:15 Amazing things we’ve seen
45:07 Interview with Ian McCollum
We uncover the mysteries of costume mounting: from the magic of Fosshape to whittling down mannequins to size! Tune in for an interview with Lara Flecker about mounting and displaying fashion in museums. Kloe reviews ‘The Care and Display of Historic Clothing’ AND the Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up exhibition at the V&A. Our agony aunt Jane also answers a question about hourly rates.
00:00:26 News in brief
00:01:16 Our experiences of mounting costume
00:07:59 Mannequins: the good, the bad, and the ugly
00:10:24 How do we display partial costume?
00:15:51 Altering mannequins
00:19:14 What can ‘costume’ mean?
00:23:07 The usefulness of magnets
00:29:51 How important is the choice of mannequin for how people perceive the object?
00:31:11 Do mannequins have ethnicity?
00:36:49 Fashion and weddings – but where are the everyday dress exhibitions?
00:42:11 Useful resources and recommendations
00:46:13 Interview with Lara Flecker
00:58:07 Dear Jane
01:02:19 Review: ‘The Care and Display of Historic Clothing’
01:07:38 Bonus review: ‘Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up’ exhibition
01:12:09 Patreon shout-out!
Today we’re breaking an imagined taboo and talking about parenthood and having (or not having) children as conservators. We talk about flexibility at work, fertility problems, unexpected anxiety, and if The Right Time actually exists. Tune in for an interview with Karen Horton about being deliberately childfree and listen to Sophie Rowe and Christina having a chat about being working mothers. We also get to hear what Christina’s kids think she does at work!
00:00:23 Why talk parenthood?
00:02:41 Our experiences and thoughts around motherhood
00:08:23 How maternity pay works in the UK
00:11:47 How life changes after having children
00:16:53 Job security and feeling like you’re pulling your weight
00:24:56 How many conservators actually have children?
00:32:10 How maternity and shared parental leave works in the UK
00:35:42 Interview with Karen Horton
00:43:01 Choosing not to have kids
00:47:18 Interview with Harriet (5) and Alexander (7)
00:58:25 Health and safety and the joy of risk assessments
01:02:55 Why we need more flexibility at work
01:03:53 Interview with Sophie Rowe
01:32:40 Listener stories
01:42:20 Patreon shout-out
01:43:25 Comments, questions, and corrections
We’re kicking off season four with the topic of sustainability: going green in conservation! What can conservators do to make the world a little greener? We try to rustle up some practical tips and discuss some of the challenges museums face. We talk to sustainability champion Sarah Staniforth about her work around the world and to Caitlin Southwick about the Sustainability in Conservation (SiC) network. Also tune in for a review of two green heritage books!
00:01:02 News in brief
00:03:25 Definitions, definitions!
00:05:53 Institutional sustainability: can we keep collecting?
00:11:49 People power and the impact of conservators
00:14:14 Measuring impact and carbon footprints
00:16:29 Things conservators can think about
00:21:04 Glove recycling and the allure of purple furniture
00:23:35 Storage solutions and the curse of the Instagram-worthy box
00:26:06 Exhibitions and reuse
00:32:52 Choice of materials and chemicals
00:37:57 Interview with Sarah Staniforth CBE
01:01:03 Green champions and what we do
01:06:11 Conferences – are they very green?
01:08:15 Interview with Caitlin Southwick
01:24:07 Review: ‘Sustainable Heritage – Merging Environmental Conservation and Historic Preservation’ and ‘Sustainable Museums – Strategies for the 21st Century’
01:30:21 Comments, questions, and corrections
01:30:57 Patreon shout-out!
Join us for a special episode when Kloe and Jenny go on a road trip to Cambridge! (Please note: this episode has VERY varied audio quality through-out due to different recording settings.) We talk about opening events, meet up with Christina, visit Kirstie Williams and Karen Horton at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, interview Natalie Jones about the museum decant, and attend the opening ceremony for the refurbished Museum of Zoology.
00:00:52 Going for a ride in the car and memories of a decant
00:06:25 News in brief
00:10:18 Our experiences of opening events
00:27:00 Types of opening events and who gets invited?
00:32:58 Christina gives us a tour of MAA
00:42:24 Jenny and Kloe in the new zoology galleries
00:45:54 Interview with Natalie Jones
00:50:04 Summary of the event
01:02:41 Comments, questions, and corrections
01:03:38 Vintage Museums Journals
01:11:58 Patreon shout-out!
We tackle the tricky topic of funding: in museums in general and for conservators in particular. From grants and charities to crowdfunding and adopt-an-object schemes we’ll try to make sense of the many ways we can look for or raise money. Our agony aunt Jane answers some questions about accreditation, and we talk about professional bodies, influencing coworkers, and contemporary art headaches in the comments section.
00:01:06 News in brief
00:01:41 Our experiences of applying for money
00:07:33 Thinking about how to look for funding in museums
00:12:34 How do we demonstrate impact of heritage?
00:14:59 Funding landscape for museums
00:27:20 Conservation funding pots
00:29:38 Funding for conservators
00:32:04 Pet peeves
00:36:07 Individual giving as the future of funding
00:40:33 What are funding bodies after?
00:46:40 What comes next: the work that comes with a grant
00:50:52 Conservators as fundraisers
00:57:31 Adopt a Book and Adopt a Book schemes
01:12:42 Dear Jane
01:17:07 Kloe’s contemporary art dilemma
01:24:59 Questions, comments, corrections: NKF-DK answers and keeping HR out of mansplaining
This one is all about how to make friends and influence people (kind of)! Being heard in conservation can be hard. Guest host Jane Henderson shares her experiences of communication misfires and pro tips on how to get through to people. We play a little game in which we try to make negatives into positives, and have a think about what works when talking to colleagues. Also tune in for a Dear Jane about mansplaining, and listen to Kloe testing Aquazol on textiles.
00:39 News in brief
01:33 Being heard in conservation
06:37 Getting psychological with Jane
12:36 Teaching old dogs new tricks (or vice versa)
18:38 When bad things happen
23:37 Turning a negative into a positive
26:17 Personality types and why they matter
28:25 The story of Marco the Bear
32:19 Game: Minus to Plus!
41:41 Review: Kloe tries out Aquazol
47:17 Dear Jane
51:01 Comments, questions, and corrections: the Melinex question
We’re joined by Barbadian conservator Nerys Rudder and talk about international studenthood, working in a warm climate, and post-colonial heritage identity. Listen to eight voices from across the world: conservators from Spain, America, Egypt, Germany, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands answer our questions! Our agony aunt Jane tackles a topical question about studying in the UK and how those qualifications can work for you abroad. Also tune in for an interview with Rosie Cook about working across Asia, and a review of ‘Treasures in Trusted Hands.’
00:00:31 News in brief
00:05:51 Nerys’ journey from art to science
00:09:28 Being the only conservator in Barbados
00:14:22 Working in a different climate
00:22:02 Research, collaboration, and networking
00:31:36 Interview with Rosie Cook
00:46:45 Julia from Spain
00:48:40 Pia from Norway
00:54:27 Abbie from the Netherlands
00:56:14 Sophie from Germany
01:00:07 Abdel from Egypt
01:08:02 Fletcher from America
01:09:31 Erina from Australia
01:19:05 Chi Chun from Taiwan
01:21:02 Review: Treasures in Trusted Hands – Negotiating the Future of Colonial Cultural Objects
01:23:45 Dear Jane
We team up with Lorraine Finch to talk about how to look after your conservator: we cover topics like wellbeing and self-care, while also discussing what employers and managers can do to keep staff in good condition. We talk to Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas about burnout and stress in the workplace, and we interview Sam Jenkins from the Museum Wellness Network. Also tune in for a review of ‘Objective Lessons: Self Care for Museum Workers’ by Seema Rao.
00:01:04 News in brief
00:05:11 Defining ‘wellbeing’ and ‘self care’
00:07:32 What’s wellbeing to us?
00:17:46 Lab pets and yoga practice
00:22:11 The power of body language
00:25:23 Swedish fika and the art of taking a break
00:28:11 Different types of stress
00:35:28 Mindfulness and its place in conservation
00:41:43 Mental health: Lorraine and Jenny’s stories
00:48:45 Tips for improved wellbeing
00:50:17 Interview with Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas
01:05:41 Warning signs and remembering to recharge
01:07:30 Rust out
01:11:45 Interview with Sam Jenkins
01:21:18 Review: Objective Lessons – Self Care for Museum Professions