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A collection of preserved butterflies

Reading Alumni Rob has always been drawn to working in museum collections. When he was searching for a University, he knew he wanted to gain as much experience with collections as possible. For him, it was the Cole Museum of Zoology that set Reading apart from the crowd.

Alongside his Zoology degree, Rob gained the experience he needed by volunteering in the Cole Museum once a week for three years.

“One of the main reasons I applied to Reading is because of the Cole Museum, I hoped to be able to volunteer there for three years. It’s really difficult to get object handling experience outside of that kind of environment. As a student volunteer, it's a great opportunity to get object handling skills, it really strengthened my knowledge of taxonomy.”

Rob was introduced to Entomology in his second year, he found a real passion for the field that grew throughout his time at Reading, becoming the focus of his studies. This combined with his museum experience, formed the ideal starting platform for a long-term career. 

Rob combined his interests in insects and substantial museum experience, to secure his current role as collections manager at Oxford Museum of Natural History, where he manages the Diptera (fly) collection, along with the small orders collection, and aviary collection. Rob also runs the Integrated Pest Program. 

He credits the experience he gained at Reading for providing him the skills to succeed and progress in such a competitive industry. 

He would advise students to utilise the facilities they have available and make the most of any opportunities while studying, as this will be invaluable towards gaining the experiences needed for their future careers. 

“If you want to work for museums, I cannot recommend volunteering enough as a first step, it's the thing I tell everyone to do. I wouldn't have got that first job, without the Museum Collection experience I gained at Reading”.