Cirencester’s Corinium Museum Appoints New Director

Dr Katharine Walker – new Director at Corinium Museum

Cirencester’s Corinium Museum has appointed Dr. Katharine Walker as its new Museum Director.

The award-winning Museum houses the highly significant finds from the Roman town of Corinium. With the new and immersive galleries entitled Stone Age to Corinium, the Museum today takes you on a journey through time and charts the development of the Cotswolds from its prehistoric landscape to the modern-day.

Dr. Katharine Walker said: “I’m delighted to take up the role of Museum Director. It’s a great honour, and I am fortunate to have been given such solid foundations on which to build, thanks to Amanda Hart’s energy and dedication over the past years. There are some staggering archaeological discoveries happening in the Cotswolds at the moment with some incredible stories to tell; it is an exciting and advantageous time to take on the baton.”

Katharine arrives with experience and knowledge in leadership and management within the culture and heritage sector and a profound interest in museums and archaeology – she is a Neolithic specialist and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and studied for her Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Southampton.

Career highlights include Centre Manager at the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst, where she has been in a variety of collections and engagement roles for the past six years. She is a Vising Research Fellow in Archaeology at Bournemouth University, and has held roles as Collections Manager and Curator at Hengistbury Head, and part-time lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Bristol.

Katharine added: “My vision is that collectively we can achieve sustainability for Corinium Museum and expand further on our inclusivity and diversity of resources. The hugely significant collections held at Corinium provide many stories and insights. I’m looking forward to working with the team to unlock further highlights, which we will relay through as many creative channels and events as possible to tell these stories to an even wider audience.”

“I look forward to working with the team, to stride ahead following the impressive redevelopment of the prehistory galleries. I intend to do my utmost to further the Museum’s efforts, and we have some great opportunities in the planning for raising the profile of the Museum even further – these are exciting times!”

In December 2021, it was announced that the Corinium Museum’s research team – which included archaeologists from Newcastle University, and geneticists from the University of the Basque Country, University of Vienna and Harvard University had discovered the world’s oldest family tree. Ancient DNA was extracted from the bones and teeth of 35 individuals entombed at Hazleton North long cairn in the Cotswolds-Severn region, and the research team was able to detect that 27 of them were close biological relatives. The group lived approximately 5700 years ago – around 3700-3600 BC – around 100 years after farming had been introduced to Britain. Dr Alison Brookes of Corinium Museum worked closely with the research team on the DNA samples of the bones and teeth which are housed in the Corinium Museum’s collection.