Our team is small but mighty! The Cole Museum is home to some dedicated live human specimens, find out more about them here.

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 is leading 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.

Assistant Curator – Dr Tara Pirie

“Apart from assisting with the Cole Museum packing, fundraising and specimen conservation, I have been helping 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 is involved in all aspects of the museum, both in its current form and the exciting new displays she is helping to create! Find her on Twitter @TaraPirie.

Project Officer (Museum Relocation) – Meg Cathcart-James

“When I started as Project Officer, I had no idea how passionate I would become about the Cole Museum. It’s a wonderfully unique resource for our students, and I never get tired of seeing that expression of ‘wow!’ on their faces!”

Meg Cathcart-James has been a Project Officer at the Cole Museum since 2017. She is managing the logistics of moving the museum to its new home and also leads the student volunteer team. Find her on Twitter @MegCJ88 and @ColeMM2019.

Project Officer (Fluid Preservation) – 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 brings a wealth of knowledge and love of cake to the team! Find her on Twitter @wetconservatrix.

Technician – Rachel Thomas

“I am a Biology Technician, and my job within the Cole Museum is to look after all of the fluid-preserved specimens in jars. There are over 2,000 fluid specimens in the Cole Museum collection, most of which are in storage. One of the huge benefits of working in the museum is that I am privileged to work on specimens that most people do not get to see. I also get to work alongside a marvellous team of volunteers!”

Rachel is the go-to person for all things in jars at the Cole Museum – of which there are a lot! Our team benefits hugely from Rachel’s wealth of  experience and training of students in fluid conservation work.

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 museum move could not happen without his expertise!