Following an undergraduate degree in Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, I was awarded a Heritage Science Scholarship funded by Historic Royal Palaces to study part-time for an MRes. degree at UCL. For me this was a logical progression, as I had become more interested in historic objects once they were removed from the ground than in excavation.
An especially rewarding aspect of my experience as an HRP Scholar came through my work as an intern in the conservation science department at Hampton Court Palace. I was able to carry out scientific research with tangible outcomes which were translated into practical advice and help for the conservation and collections care team.
The Scholarship gave me an essential understanding of the application of scientific analysis to heritage issues and an overview of conservation techniques. Two research modules allowed me to develop independent research skills and initiative. My main research focused on using non-invasive spectroscopic methods to assess degradation of wool yarns within tapestries at Hampton Court Palace.
I learned how to deal with problems holistically and became proficient in key analytical techniques applied to historic objects. Combining an academic qualification with practical experience of a professional working environment has made me an attractive candidate to employers within the heritage sector: I was subsequently the successful candidate for the Icon Preventive Conservation Fellowship with the National Trust. I am now building on the skills and knowledge gained during the HRP Scholarship, which I believe will help me to become a well-rounded conservation scientist.
The HRP Scholarship gave me a wonderful opportunity to combine my knowledge of science and passion for the past in following my perfect career path.