Collections Care Conference 2023: Preserving the Un-Preservable

This year’s conference will be examining issues raised by the care and long-term preservation of challenging objects in museums – be it large, unstable or intangible heritage.

The conference will be online, with pre-recorded presentations available from Monday 23rd January and live panel discussions via Zoom on 26th-27th January









Online Presentations

From Monday 23rd January there will be a range of pre-recorded presentations from a variety of speakers designed to reflect, inspire and motivate. These will be available to view on the University of Cambridge Museums YouTube Channel. Click here to view the playlist.

‘Preserving the Un-Preservable’ at the East Anglian Film Archive
Sean Kelly, Archive Education Technologist at East Anglian Film Archive, University of East Anglia

New Frontiers for the Science Museum Group Collection
Alexandra Fullerlove, Head of Collections Management at Science Museum Group

Digital Futures Project
David Finch, Digitisation Manager at IWM

Imperial War Museums Collection Storage
Lindsay Flood, Head of Project Delivery at Imperial War Museums Collection Storage Alison Torbitt, Preservation Manager at Imperial War Museums Collection Storage

The Restoration and Preservation of Historic British Airliners
David Garside, Head of Collections at Duxford Aviation Society Museum

The restoration and preservation of 13 historic airliners including a pre-production Concorde, unique 1950’s Airspeed Ambassador, the oldest turbo prop airliner in the World, the first passenger carrying jet airliner across the North Atlantic and a BAe 146 recently de-commissioned from the Royal (No 32) Squadron.

Re-Defining Collections: Tangible and intangible heritage at Blickling Estate
Megan Dennis, Property Curator at Blickling Estate, National Trust

The Jacobean mansion with its typical country house collections and a nationally important academic library are one part of the heritage assets of the property.

Life cycle of an outdoor aircraft. Use it and lose it.
Michael Loftus, Objects Conservator (gjenstandskonservator) at National Norwegian Aviation Museum, Norsk Luftfartsmuseum (NL)

When everyone has walked away: Conservation of remote redundant churches
Rachel Morley, Director at Friends of Friendless Churches

Capturing the intangible: presenting the home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Chris Hilton, Head of Archive & Library at The Red House (Britten Pears Arts)
Ella Roberts, Head of Red House at The Red House (Britten Pears Arts)


Conference Schedule:

Day 1: Thursday 26th January

10:30 – 11:45 Challenges and ideas: Film, Photographs and Digital

Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Su Booth, MDO for Norfolk, with the following panellists:

  • Sean Kelly, East Anglian Film Archive

  • Debbie Cooper, Photographic Collections Network

  • Anita Bools, National Trust

  • Jonathan Draper, Norfolk Record Office

13:30 – 15:15 Challenges and ideas: Storage

Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Wayne Kett, Collections Development Officer, Norfolk Museums Service. With panellists:

  • Lindsay Flood, Imperial War Museum Duxford

  • Alison Torbitt, Imperial War Museum Duxford

  • Sarah Lewery, Churchill Archives Centre

  • Lorraine Finch, LFCP

  • Alex Fullerlove, Science Museum Group

  • Laura Humphreys, Science Museum Group

Day 2: Friday 27th January

10:30 – 11:45 Challenges and ideas: Large and Working Objects

Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Ian Reed, Chair of the Heritage Engineering Network. With panellists:

  • David Garside, Duxford Aviation Society
  • Michael Loftus, National Norwegian Aviation Museum, Norsk Luftfartsmuseum
  • Rowan Francis, Forncett Steam Museum
  • Dave Harvey, Norfolk Museum Service
  • Terry Bendall, Leighton Buzzard Railway

13:30 – 15:15 Challenges and ideas: Ambience and Intangible Heritage

Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Jamie Everitt, Regional Museum Development Manager, SHARE Museums East. With panellists:

  • Megan Dennis, Blickling Estate, National Trust
  • Rachel Morley, Friends of Friendless Churches
  • Chris Hilton, The Red House, Britten Pears Arts
  • Ella Roberts, The Red House, Britten Pears Arts
  • Jenny Hand, The Munnings Art Museum
Alexandra Fullerlove

Alexandra Fullerlove

Head of Collections Management

Science Museum Group

Alex Fullerlove is Head of Collections Management at the Science Museum Group (SMG). She is leading the SMG’s major Collection Move Project, vacating Blythe House and relocating the 280,000 objects to Building ONE, the new collection store at the National Collections Centre (NCC). The project also encompasses processing the collections already held at the NCC and relocating collections on site into the new building. As SMG establishes NCC as the Collections Hub for the group she is also responsible for coordinating CS activity onsite and leads the SMG’s Storage & Logistics section.

Alison Torbitt

Alison Torbitt

Preservation Manager

Imperial War Museums Collection Storage

I have been the Preservation Manager for IWM since April 2020, in my role I manage Environmental monitoring, IPM, a Housekeeping programme, Hazards, Exhibition support and Emergency response – including equipment and training, across all five of IPM’s branches.

Anita Bools ACR

Anita Bools ACR

Senior National Conservator Paper & Photography

National Trust

Anita is the National Trust’s Senior National Conservator for Paper and Photography. She was a founding committee member and chair of ICON Photographic Materials Conservation Group and formerly Senior Paper and Photographic Materials Conservator with the North-West Museums Service.

Anita has worked for the National Trust since 1995, setting standards and guiding care for its extensive photography collections. As a photographic materials conservation consultant, Anita also trains and supports diverse organisations – including British Telecom, the Royal Opera House and Oxford University Museums. Anita took study leave in 2013 to obtain qualified teacher status from Reading University, subsequently teaching part-time in schools.

Chris Hilton

Chris Hilton

Head of Archive & Library

The Red House (Britten Pears Arts)

Chris Hilton is an archivist whose career has been spent widening access to specialist collections: looking for new audiences and new ways to present the material.  Before coming to the Red House in 2017 he worked at the Wellcome Library.

David Finch

David Finch

Digitisation Manager


David manages a programme of digitisation working toward preserving the longevity of film and stills media.

He is involved in the management of some large projects for the IWM’s Visual Resources Department.

David’s team works with the IWM’s extensive film and photographic archive to preserve the archives assets then creates digital renditions for access.

David Garside

David Garside

Head of Collections

Duxford Aviation Society Museum

David is a retired Chartered Civil Engineer. His career covered almost 40 years involving a wide variety of projects for local authorities and water utilities culminating as Head of Asset Management Planning for British Waterways (now the Canal and River Trust).

David Harvey

Conservator, Social History/Decorative Arts

Norfolk Museums Service

David has worked as an objects conservator at NMS since 1991 and gained a conservation of industrial collections qualification in 1995. He works regularly with museum volunteer groups carrying out collections care work. David has specialist expertise in the conservation of large and working objects and social history collections.

Ella Roberts

Ella Roberts

Head of Red House

The Red House (Britten Pears Arts)

Ella has worked in the museum sector for over 10 years and has fallen into the niche world of composer houses: firstly, at Handel & Hendrix in London and now The Red House. She is interested in using buildings, collections and people to bring composers and their homes to life.

Jenny Hand


Munnings Art Museum

Jenny worked at several museums in the East Midlands and spent ten years at Brighton Pavilion and Museums working with curatorial and conservation teams on a number of new projects funded by the Renaissance in the Regions programme.

Jenny took up the position of Director of the Munnings Art Museum in 2013. In 2019, under Jenny’s leadership, the Munnings Art Museum worked with the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to bring forty of Sir Alfred Munnings First World War paintings to the United Kingdom. This was the first time that these paintings had been exhibited all together in the UK in a hundred years. The paintings were shown in London and then at the Munnings Art Museum, doubling visitors numbers, and making 2019 the most successful year in the museum’s six-decade history.

Jonathan Draper

Jonathan Draper

Partnership and Development Manager

Norfolk Record Office

Jonathan has worked as an archivist for over 25 years. Over that time, he has developed an interest in digitising archives and exploring the opportunities that offers in terms of access. He has also worked extensively with sound archives, especially their preservation through digitisation. He has been involved with the recent British Library led, National Lottery funded project Unlocking Our Sound Heritage. Jonathan is a member of the Archives and Record Association’s Film, Sound and Photography Special Interest Group committee.

Laura Humphreys

Laura Humphreys

Collections Information Project Manager

Science Museum Group

Laura Humphreys is the Collections Information Project Manager at the Science Museum Group, responsible for improving the information recorded about those collections, and engaging audiences with it. She is based at the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire, managing the curatorial team there and their work on the One Collection move, moving c.300,000 objects into a new purpose-built store. She is also responsible for developing the research audience for the new store, and expanding the number and diversity of research visitors who use the stored collection when it opens to the public in 2024.

Lindsay Flood

Head of Project Delivery

Lorraine Finch ACR

Lorraine Finch ACR

Sustainability Specialist


Lorraine is a sustainability specialist in cultural heritage. She is founder and director of LFCP, which is accelerating the cultural heritage sector’s climate and environmental actions through research, knowledge sharing and resource creation.

Lorraine advocates on the international stage for sustainability in cultural heritage participating in conferences, publishing blogs and articles and collaborating with leaders in the field in the USA and Europe.

Lorraine is co-founder and Chair of the Institute of Conservation’s Environmental Sustainability Network. In recognition she was awarded a David Middleton Sustainability finalist award. Lorraine is a Director of Climate Museum UK and an accredited conservator of archives, photographs, film and sound.

Megan Dennis

Megan Dennis

Property Curator

Blickling Estate, National Trust

Megan Dennis is Property Curator at Blickling with responsibility for the care and interpretation of historic collections across the 4600 acres of woodland, parkland and farmland of the estate. The Jacobean mansion with its typical country house collections and a nationally important academic library are one part of the heritage assets of the property.

Megan has a background in social history and archaeology. She has worked at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, King’s Lynn Museums and Norfolk’s Historic Environment Service.

Michael Loftus

Michael Loftus

Objects Conservator, gjenstandskonservator

National Norwegian Aviation Museum, Norsk Luftfartsmuseum

I have worked at Norsk Luftfartsmuseum as the objects conservator for seven years and I am responsible for the care of the collection, conservation treatments and volunteer activity in the workshop. Before this I worked at Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway where the focus was on archaeological and social history collections. Before this I worked for many years at National Museums Scotland, first as a collections assistant but then in conservation. My focus here was scientific, industrial, large objects including the aviation collections at National museum of Flight.

Rachel Morley


Friends of Friendless Churches

Following an undergraduate degree in Process and Chemical Engineering, Rachel completed a postgraduate course in Building Conservation & Repair at Trinity College, Dublin. In 2013, she was awarded Heritage Lottery funding to specialise in architectural stone and plaster conservation through the Institute of Conservation.

She served as a  Guardian and Trustee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings for six years, is a judge for the John Betjeman Award for church conservation, and an assessor for the Architect’s Accreditation in Building Conservation. She currently sits on the Twentieth Century Society’s Casework Committee.

Dr Rowan Francis

Dr Rowan Francis

Founder and Chair of Trustees

Forncett Industrial Steam Museum

During my career as a hospital doctor and consultant anaesthetist, retiring in 2012, my work in various hospitals around Britain and abroad nurtured my deep interest in Britain’s Industrial Heritage.

In 1970, I founded the Forncett Industrial Steam Museum with the aim to rescue,
dismantle, rebuild and house in new buildings, examples of stationary steam engines which were destined for the scrap yard and would have been lost for ever.
Since 1982, visitors can experience the sight and sounds of 18 stationary engines running under the power of steam, including our six largest exhibits: Corliss 50hp, Gimson 50hp beam engine, Easton Anderson 65hp beam engine, Robey 200hp tandem compound,
Worthington 600hp triple expansion, Vickers Armstrong 147hp compound from Tower Bridge.
In 2016, it was a family decision to gift this private collection and turn it into a charitable trust so the future of the collection would be secure in perpetuity.

Sarah Lewery

Sarah Lewery

Senior Conservator

Churchill Archives Centre

Sarah joined the team in 1999 and is now Senior Conservator.  She works in the dedicated conservation studio, usually with a conservator and/or conservation assistant.

Her role involves managing all aspects of the Preservation of the collections – from monitoring the storage environment through to planning for recovery in the event of an for emergency affecting our holdings.  She also carries out conservation treatments on the collections and contributes to outreach.

She is part of the Senior Management Team of the Archives Centre.

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly

Archive Education Technologist

East Anglian Film Archive, University of East Anglia

Sean has over 15 years’ experience working in moving image preservation. In their current role they work with EAFA’s Academic Director on embedding the use of the archive in teaching and research. Elsewhere they work with other team members on collections care, and information management. EAFA has been digitising holdings since 2006 and recently Sean been working with the Senior Technician to more formalise EAFA’s approach to digital preservation.

Sean also has some international experience, previously studying and working in both the USA and the Netherlands.

Terry Bendall

Terry Bendall

Health & Safety Officer/Buildings Manager

Leighton Buzzard Railway Museum

My working background is in education, initially as a teacher of Design and Technology and later working in educational advisory work.  Following retirement I joined the Leighton Buzzard Railway Museum as a volunteer and have been working at the museum for 12 years.  I was a trustee for 9 years and chairman for 7 years. I am qualified as a guard and duty manager and have assisted with the preservation and maintenance of our locomotives, carriages and wagons.   Prior to Joining the museum I spent 17 years assisting with the preservation of a main line diesel locomotive.

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