My day to day work varies enormously, which is part of the reason I enjoy my job so much. I spend as much time as I can working directly with the natural history collections (biology and geology) to learn more about them, improve access to them and ensure they are appropriately cared for. I am currently reorganising the bird store so that the specimens are arranged taxonomically (i.e. so all the owls are grouped together etc) – RAMM has over 13,500 birds and eggs in the collection so this is quite a task.
An important part of my role involves partnership work (e.g. with the University of Exeter and RSPB) and seeking external funding. These allow RAMM to produce exciting exhibitions and events, digital products and other resources for the public and researchers to enjoy.
My other jobs include replying to enquires from the public, making specimen information available online, giving talks and tours, managing the volunteers and consultants who help me with the collections and associated archive and writing exhibitions. My first temporary exhibition at RAMM was Taonga and collaboration with Tony Eccles, RAMM’s Curator of Ethnography, which explores the Māori’s use of natural materials. This exhibition was inspired by my recent brief sabbatical in New Zealand and the work experience I undertook at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Phone: 01392 265358
Address: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3RX
My undergraduate degree is in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology from the University of Plymouth. During this time Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery were seeking volunteers to assist with a wet preserved marine biology collection and I offered to help. My interest in museum curatorship as a career was sparked instantly and I have had the privilege to work with some outstanding marine collections. I am also far happier on land than on, or in, the water so this career choice has suited me very well.
In 2009 I graduated from the University of Leicester with an MSc in Museum Studies and as part of this I undertook an 8 week work placement at RAMM helping with family education events, digital media and natural history.
My first museum job was a 6 month contract with National Museum Wales, Cardiff, as a Curatorial Assistant working on a collection of marine worms – sorting, documenting and conserving the specimens. After this I was lucky enough to return to RAMM in April 2010 as the Assistant Curator of Natural History to help with the redevelopment. Although this was initially only a 5 month contract I am still here and became Curator of Natural History in December 2012.
Current and past projects
- Taonga: Māori treasures of the natural world
- Art Fund Collect 2011
- Art Fund Collect 2012
- Natural History in New Zealand
- HMS Challenger database
- Phyllis Knight-Jones – A remarkable life (1933–2009) A. S. Y. Mackie, G. Oddy, H. Morgenroth
Italian Journal of Zoology Vol. 78, Iss. sup1, 2011 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/11250003.2011.574018
- Fly on the Wall: A New Insect Gallery for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery Holly Morgenroth
NatSCA News, Issue 23, pages 64 – 69 http://natsca.org/article/96
As part of a multi-million pound redevelopment RAMM has a brand new gallery dedicated to its beautiful and scientifically valuable insect collections. The development of the gallery and techniques used to display these fragile creatures is described as well as some insect-related highlights from RAMM’s ethnographic and costume collections.