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Who we are
The Curatorial and Conservation Services team research, record and promote our historic interiors and collections and through them bring narratives to life. From the simplest household object to the finest painting they reveal the stories of people’s lives through the authentic display of original objects within their historic setting. In addition they work in partnership with other organisations to promote the collections nationally and internationally and have a wider archival and photographic responsibility across the whole of the National Trust for Scotland.
Led by the Head of Curatorial and Conservation Services, the team includes six Curators (five posts), and an Archivist. In addition within the team the Registrar manages a Collections Management team which comprises a Loans Registrar, a Documentation Officer and a Photographer/Photo Librarian. In addition there are several honorary advisors, covering the fields of libraries, music, Gaelic Culture, Scottish History and specialist areas of Fine, Applied and Decorative Arts. The curators, whose areas of expertise cover fine and decorative art as well as interior design, research the origins of the objects, who made them and what date they entered a particular house or room. They develop knowledge about the historical and artistic significance of the Trust's collections and interiors and explore archival and published material, in search of clues about how a property looked and functioned in the past. They also provide advice on the overall aesthetic appearance of the interiors - the way collection items are displayed in the properties and the manner in which the rooms are presented to the public.

The Curators research contributes too many areas of the Trust's work, including educational activities, conservation plans and fundraising appeals. A main drive is to make the collections as accessible as possible: in the properties, when loaned to exhibitions elsewhere and increasingly, online. All of the staff, along with our volunteers, are working to this end. The curators also promote the collections through research, publication, new displays and exhibitions. A new initiative is to revitalise properties with temporary exhibitions and interventions which will increase and diversify our visitor base.

The Archivist is not only responsible for all the paper (and increasingly electronic records) that the Trust creates; the inventories of the collections and the files by which the properties came to the Trust, but also manages the historic archives that have come to us with houses like Brodie, which help us identify when things came into the collection as well as providing fascinating information - and photographs - of the families involved.

The Collections Management Team manages the location records and catalogue information about NTS material collections. . We are currently running a major project, Project Reveal, to audit and update all of our collections information across all of our properties. The project will enable better access to the collections information for staff, and ultimately for the public through online access to the collections database. Another important way that we widen access to the collections is through lending to, and borrowing from, individuals and other collecting institutions. Our Registrar (Loans & Disposals) manages and negotiates loans agreements with a wide number of lenders throughout the UK and abroad. Our Collections Information Officer is responsible for managing the database and liaising with our staff and volunteers in properties to ensure that our collections location information is up to date. With over fifty properties holding collections, this role is essential for ensuring the consistency and accuracy of the data so we can audit and keep track of the collections.

We also have a Photographer/Photo Librarian who manages and facilitates access to both the historic and contemporary collections of images and makes them accessible for both the promotion of the National Trust for Scotland and to external publishers.