In general:

All talks are lavishly illustrated, presented on Keynote or Powerpoint and last 60-90 minutes. Discussion and debate is encouraged!


Outreach talks (for educational institutions): Please contact us as each talk is specifically designed for the target group.


Behind the scenes in the museum

Starting with the cabinet of curiosities and following through to the ‘new’ museums of today, this talk traces the development of how private collections turned into world class museums. It considers the collections on display and in storage (the Natural History Museum in London only has only about 2% of its collection displayed). It also discusses the trade in illicit antiquities, who do the Elgin marbles really belong to and what it takes to keep a modern museum going.


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 very basic equipment and materials. As a conservator working under these conditions, you often have to learn to ‘make-do’ and ‘mend.’ Ingenuity, agility, inventiveness, adaptability, tent-pitching, culinary skills and a sense of humour are just a few of the necessary talents needed by an archaeological conservator!


How to read old cookbooks and follow old recipes

Did you know that historically butter was sold by the yard in Cambridge but by the pint in the City of London and honey was sold by the gallon of 12 pounds? In fact, in County Tyrone, potatoes weighed more in winter, than in spring or summer, so size and weight changed not just by locality but by season! Following old recipes is not always straightforward and this talk explains what we need to know to be able to understand old recipes today.


A short history of glass

A short history of glass begins with an explanation of what glass is, how it was discovered and first made. It discusses the historic glass industry, glassmaking and advances in glass technology over the last two thousand years. It then goes on to discuss studio and art glass of the recent past and the glass of tomorrow.


A short history of ceramics

This talk explains what ceramics are and how, when and where they were first made. It also explores the development of the ceramics industry and looks in depth at the art of the potter, from great innovators such as Josiah Wedgwood through to Grayson Perry.


A history of the allotment movement

The word ‘allotment,’ to some, still conjures up images of old men tending to carrots and turnips or 1940’s housewives Digging for Victory during WWII. However, beyond this public memory there is a history inextricably linked to the land and its people. Hitherto, the story of the allotment movement has been primarily a story about relieving hunger, but while feeding people has indeed been a significant part of the story – it has been only that – a part of the story. This talk tells another side of the story, one of intrigue, lawsuits, government, politics, wars, land grabs, art, culture, recreation and not least of all, want and plenty.


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.