Conservation Officer for the ARC

A love of heritage and  treasured memories of days in Rainbows, Brownies and Guides – it’s the perfect combination of talents for our new Conservation and Preservations Officer Kate Bridges.

Kate has started work at the Girlguiding Norfolk Archive Resource Centre (ARC) in Coltishall, where she will spend the next six months cataloguing, preserving and ordering the many hundreds of guiding treasures in the collection.

“There is such a lot to do,” says Kate, who was in guiding in Thorpe St Andrew for many years and has returned to Norwich after university.

She studied history at York University and completed her Master’s degree at the University of East Anglia in Cultural Heritage and Museums.

“I’ve always had a love affair with museums and wanted to make my career in the care of collections,” she adds.  “History and heritage drives me and I have real passion for the job.”

Kate has fond memories of staying at Patteson Lodge, which is where the ARC is based, during her years in guiding and still counts among her best friends some of the girls she met in Rainbows.

She finds the ARC’s collection intriguing and is especially drawn to the enormous catalogue of badges it holds. “I think that is the highlight of the collection for me because you can trace your own history through the badges that you see in the archive.”

Kate began volunteering with the National  Trust at the age of 16 when she worked at Blickling Hall and has also worked at York Castle and at the South Asian Decorative Arts Collection, housed in the old skating rink in Norwich.

One of her main tasks during the six month role will be organising the preservation of uniforms, blankets and other textiles in the collection. This will involve working with Gressenhall Museum to freeze the items, removing damaging insects and bugs, before cataloguing and re-packing them in the ARC’s purpose-built archive rooms.

“We want the collection to be accessible and for people to be able to enjoy looking at the amazing things we have here,” says Kate.

County archivist Helen Green said Kate’s appointment was made possible by a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and she thanked all those who support the Lottery to generate the funds.

“It’s very exciting having Kate working with us and bringing her professional approach to add to the work that our fantastic group of volunteers have started,” says Helen.

If you wish to visit the Archive Resource Centre or have a question/information about the collection please contact Kate Bridges via email – kateggarchives@gmail.com

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