In 1981, to my immense surprise, I was successful in my application for the post of
Assistant Curator in the
University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. The combination of museum qualifications and a
research interest in early tetrapods was apparently just what they were looking for.
I'd honestly expected to go back into provincial museums as a curator after my PhD, and
was somewhat overawed by the thoughts of Cambridge to begin with. I still can't quite
believe someone paid me, and allows me to continue post-retirement, to play with wonderful
fossils in such a prestigious institution!
After finishing my PhD in 1984, casting around for material to work on next, I
uncovered the material of Acanthostega
in the Department of Earth Sciences, whose
story is told on the Expeditions
As Curator, I have several different strands to my work: curation,
teaching, administration and research. Each of these is supposed to take about one third
of my time (!).
I was a tenured member of staff of the Department of Zoology - the University Museum of Zoology
is an integral part of the Department of Zoology, and its Director is a Professor in the Department.
(See the web site for the Department and Museum: www.cam.ac.uk
I was responsible for planning and in part executing displays of vertebrates - mainly fish, amphibians
and reptiles, both extant and fossil - in the museum, for students and the general public. I would
liaise with the Collections Manager and advise on specimen care, loans, storage, exhibits, and the
needs of academic visitors to the collections. I was also responsible for teaching second and third year
undergraduates, for the latter I was module organiser for the 'Topics in Vertebrate Evolution' course.
I retired at the end of September 2015, and my successor, Dr Jason Head, continues these duties.