These talks are intended to inform, inspire, motivate and challenge the way people engage with museums and the heritage industry. They offer the audience an opportunity to learn about cultural heritage, conservation and museums. They also foster debate about such issues as the trade in illicit antiquities, the repatriation of looted art and how we preserve intangible heritage. As part of her outreach in making museums and conservation more accessible and to encourage students to consider a career path in the heritage sector, Dr. Acton provides pro bono talks to youth groups and educational establishments. For a full list of talks click here.

The truth behind Time Team: what it’s really like to do archaeology!

A personal experience of the realities of working as a conservator on excavations in Europe and the Near East. Unlike the television programme Time Team, many excavations are conducted on minimal budgets using basic equipment and materials. As a conservator working in these conditions, you often have to make-do and mend. Ingenuity, inventiveness, adaptability, tent-pitching, culinary skills and a sense of humour are just a few of the necessary talents needed by an archaeological conservator!

The conservation profession: what do conservators do?

Conservators do much more than stick pots together or clean paintings. This talk looks at the training of object conservators and the types of work in which they are involved. Real case studies are used to illustrate problems and solutions encountered when artefacts need conserving. One story involves Winston Churchill, the forensic team at New Scotland Yard and an old school hat.

Behind the scenes in the museum.

This talk explores the history of museums and how objects are acquired and the problems of disposing of unwanted objects. It reflects on how much of a museum’s collection is on display at any one time. It can vary from 98% to less than 3%. It also discusses ethical issues, such as the trade in illicit antiquities, dealing with human remains and who do the Elgin Marbles really belong to?