Retired, Previously Managing Director and Curator of the National Museum of the United States Navy
Currently based in: New York, USA
DPhil Modern History (1978)
Talk to me about: Historic sites, Museums, Heritage industry, Managing organisations, Working in the USA
Completing a D.Phil. in Modern History in 1983 was scarcely a secure route to a career. Fortunately, for university graduates the Thatcher government had created the Manpower Services Commission to provide experience for graduates, and to reduce the unemployment rolls. In October 1982 I secured a place as a curator in the commission’s scheme at the Pendle Heritage Centre. A year later I received promotion to interpretative supervisor, which I left to work as a contractor for Historic Scotland. There I researched and wrote numerous exhibits and created a still-used source book about Duff House culled from the Montcoffer Papers. As the contracts ended in 1987, I returned to the States to seek work. Six months later I started with the National Museum of the United States Navy, where I retired as managing director in September 2017. While the topic of my thesis – seventeenth century British military history – has only assisted with tiny portions of my career, the research and writing necessary for my degree has benefitted me tremendously. Alternatively, I have continued to work in the field producing a book, articles, book reviews, and dozens of entries for the New Dictionary of National Biography. Currently, I am researching and writing two books and an article on the period.
Advice to St Cross students: Seize every opportunity, you don't know where it will lead.
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