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Conservation with Birthe Kruse Christensen

SMP acknowledges that care of collections is key, and that good conservation is expensive and hard to find, particularly for smaller, volunteer run organisations. Thus, it continues to provide free, on-call advice, practical conservation and skills-sharing to all Surrey museums through a dedicated and skilled conservator, Birthe Kruse Christensen.

On this page, members will find an outline of the service they can expect, how to access the support along with a short biography of Birthe’s experience and her key areas of expertise.

The Service & How to Arrange a Visit

  1. Surrey Museums Partnership members include any of the 43 museums and galleries with collections in Surrey.
  2. Each member organisation is entitled to a ½ day meeting with Birthe Christensen each financial year (April to April) that is free of charge to the museum.
  3. Birthe Christensen will provide the museum with a brief follow-up report with any key recommendations or priorities, including whether an application to the SMP grants service might be of use.
  4. If a museum would like a visit from Birthe Christensen, the collections officer or curator should send a completed copy of the Expression of Interest form (in the link below).
    This is a link to the Expression of Interest form  Please Download the form, Save, Enable Editing, complete and submit either to Haidee Thomas, SMP Museum Engagement Officer, or Julian Pooley, Surrey Heritage Public Engagement Services Manager.
  5. SMP will review and pass on the form to Birthe Christensen who will then arrange a visit with you directly.

Please note, the Expression of Interest form will allow SMP to keep a track of activity and budget, interest in the service, whether the request might be better served by the SE Museum Development Programme, and if there are any common themes/needs that could benefit from grants or training. It also allows the conservator to make a judgement on possible cost implications outside the agreed arrangement with SMP.

Extra support

Any additional time or work at the museum on top of the ½ day provided by SMP would need to be arranged directly between the museum and conservator and funded by the museum.

Birthe Christensen may provide occasional direct support for enquiries by phone and email.

Birthe Christensen will be attending Surrey Museums Partnership meetings when possible to feed back to the membership on key activity across the county.

SMP and Birthe Christensen may organise bespoke project work or training to meet a wider need for the membership. SMP welcomes suggestions from members at any time.

A Short Biography 

Birthe retired in 2018 from her position as Head of Conservation & Preservation at Royal Museums Greenwich and took the title of Conservator Emeritus. For over 10 years she was part of the senior management team with responsibilities for the conservation, care and preservation of the collections and advisor on the restoration of historic fabric.

She graduated in Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science from the Institute of Archaeology, part of University College London. Part of her training took place working as a conservator for a conservation centre in Denmark funded jointly by two counties to cater for some 20 museums within the two counties.

Prior to her job at the Royal Museums Greenwich she worked for 10 years at the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museums leading on the conservation work of the buildings, their contents and surrounding landscape followed by shorter periods at the British Museum and other internationally renowned museums.

She has a keen interest in developing and implementing pragmatic conservation solutions and management plans for historic sites and collections.

Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental advice (humidity, temperature and light)
  • Pest management including developing Integrated Pest Management plans (IPM)
  • Display furniture and mounting solutions for objects
  • Store surveys; storage and packing of collections
  • Condition assessments of objects or collections; identifying conservation priorities
  • Developing housekeeping and cleaning programmes
  • Advice on identifying and engaging conservators
  • Conservation Management Plans
  • Emergency planning