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FYT and National Trust Project with St. Katherine’s School

Eleven young people from St Katherine’s School in Pill have been works in recent months on a pilot project to conserve and preserve historical buildings and important collections with experts from the National Trust (Tyntesfield), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Bristol University, Bristol Museum and North Somerset Museum Service, thanks to funding from the Find Your Talent North Somerset pathfinder.

9th December 2009

The young people have been researching conservation and scientific techniques to help stop pests destroying the fragile fabric of important materials and to conserve collections for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Led by two sixth formers, April Holmwood and Chelsea Saroe, the young people have had the opportunity to work with a range of professional scientists, researchers and conservationists since October 2009, in North Somerset, Bristol and London.

Leading scientists, trap experts, an entomologist, and specialists from the partner organisations have been engaged to work with the young people to develop a greater understanding of the importance of conversation and the techniques necessary to preserve our heritage.

The project included a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to learn from the experts in their state of the art laboratories of the different microscopes which are used to identify and age different materials and see their specialist x-ray equipment which is necessary for this highly skilled science.

They also had a guided tour of Tyntesfield while it is being re-established and learnt about the history of the house as well as its programme of preservation currently underway.

Regular sessions at both Tyntesfield and North Somerset Museum were arranged for the young people to observe the scientific methods used to help conserve historic items in different locations and climates.

Recently, a session with an entomologist studying and identifying insects from the traps from Tyntesfield and Bristol Museum was held, and the students had an opportunity to look through example traps and identify pests that they found.

They have created their own reference collections of named pests.

During a communications workshop, led by the National Trust’s Communications Officer and St. Katherine’s Marketing and Projects Manager, the student’s shared their experiences and learning. Students have produced text for the school newsletter, the notice board, the school website and Tyntesfield House blog.

The students are currently in the midst of planning their final presentation to an invited audience of peers and stakeholders for 16th December at Tyntesfield.

They will be sharing with the audience what they have experienced, who they have worked with and what they have learnt.


“This project has enabled the students of St. Katherine's School to have an excellent opportunity to experience the applications of science and to work with different professionals. The students have learnt how a range of scientific techniques are used effectively to conserve and maintain museum items and historic houses.

The students have enjoyed meeting and interacting with professionals from North Somerset Museum, the National Trust and Bristol University to learn about their work and experiences.

It is an excellent project and hope other students enjoy participating in similar activities in the future.”

Ms Sophie Cocker, Science Teacher, St Katherine’s School, Pill

“It is really good fun to learn about how many pests there are and what they can do to destroy museum items. I have found it interesting to learn about the different pest traps that are used.

I have learnt how to identify different pests using a microscope camera and I have created my own pest reference collection.”

Ajit Panchal, Student, St Katherine’s School, Pill

Partner Organisations on this project

  • National Trust, Tyntesfield
  • Bristol Museum
  • St Katherine’s School
  • Bristol University
  • North Somerset Museum Service
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London