Our team is small but mighty!

We all work on a part time basis, managing our
museum responsibilities around additional roles.

Curator – Professor Amanda Callaghan

“The Cole Team of staff and students are simply the best, and the collection is stunning and endlessly fascinating”.

Professor Amanda Callaghan has been the academic curator of the Cole Museum since 2005 and led the redesign, reinterpretation and move of the museum to the Health and Life Sciences building. She can be contacted on a.callaghan@reading.ac.uk, and on Twitter @ACallaZoo.

Graduate Teaching Assistant – Claire Smith

“I specialise in the care and conservation of fluid-preserved specimens. I also help to supervise a team of students as they learn the diverse range of skills needed for working with fluid collections.”

Claire has years of experience working with the Cole Museum’s diverse and often challenging fluid collection. She is also undertaking a PhD in the preservation of colour in fluid-preserved zoological museum specimens. Find her on Twitter @wetconservatrix.

Teaching and Research Technician – Caitlin Walton

“I assist in the conservation of our fluid preserved collection and train a group of volunteers to do the same! I also offer general technical support and monitor the conditions in the museum to ensure the collection is safe for years to come. I am very lucky to work with such a fascinating collection, and it always finds new ways to amaze me!”

With a background in forensic archaeology and experience as a lab technician in educational settings, Caitlin helps to take care of our fluid preserved specimens and assists with environmental monitoring in the museum. She is also undertaking a PhD in the use of acari (mites) as evidence in forensic concealment investigations. Find her on Twitter @_Caitlin_Walton.

Placement Student – Ellie Flutter

“The Cole Museum is the perfect place to work – every day is different, I’ve gained lots of invaluable skills I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to gain anywhere else and the staff team are really friendly and welcoming.”

Ellie is a placement student at the Cole Museum this year to gain experience in the Zoology field, and so far they have been involved in the cataloguing of the curated specimens, assisting with the presentation of the museum displays and more.

Project Officer – Emma Dunford

“The Cole Museum collections formed the basis of teaching during my time studying at Reading, and I am very excited to be back and helping to look after them and show the public what a wonderful and fascinating place our museum is!” 

Emma studied BSc Zoology and MSc Wildlife Management and Conservation at Reading, where she first volunteered and worked with the museum collections. She has now returned in this diverse role to assist with the care of the collections and promote awareness of the museum.

Collections Care Manager – Fred Van De Geer

“The move of the Cole Museum is a huge and complicated undertaking, as the collection consists of many complex and fragile objects. It is a privilege to utilise and stretch my own skills to make this into the success it deserves.”

Fred has worked as conservator for the University collections since 2006. He is responsible for some of our  largest, most complex and challenging specimens, and the ongoing museum move could not happen without his expertise!

Research Associate – Dr Tara Pirie

“Apart from assisting with the Cole Museum packing, fundraising and specimen conservation, I have helped to redesign specimen cases and write new content to make the new Cole Museum even more inspiring and exciting for our students and visitors!”

Tara continues to be involved with many aspects of the museum. Find her on Twitter @TaraPirie.

Entomologist – Dr Graham Holloway

Dr Graham Holloway is our expert in museum pest management. An expert entomologist with over 40 years of experience, Graham has worked for the British Museum as a consultant investigating insects on their new green roof.

Graham is an international expert on Dermestid beetles and is the national recorder of Dermestidae. He specialises in identifying dermestid species in both museum collections and from specimens collected in the field and has described several new species, including Anthrenus amandae, named after our curator Amanda Callaghan.