Meet the Team — Conservator

We introduce Janet Ashdown, the Linnean Society's in-house Conservator

Published on 18th June 2019

Our latest Meet the Team profile is on our Conservator, Janet Ashdown.

Janet Ashdown

What are the key parts to your role?

As the Society’s conservator I take care of the collections, ensuring they are preserved for the future.

What do you like about your job?

There is a huge variety of material in the Society’s collections – books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, paintings and natural history specimens. I am always learning new skills and techniques that help me care for them.

How did you end up in this job?

I started working part-time at the Society in 2000 repairing books and working in the office. In 2002 I became the full-time conservator.

What is the most interesting item to you in the Linnean Society collections?

carpological colllection 12

When I first joined the Society I was asked to look at Smith’s Carpological collection with a view to conserving it. Because of other priorities this wasn’t possible until 2018 when the Society was awarded a grant towards cleaning and housing this fascinating collection of seeds and economic botany. You can read about the collection here. We also recently had a lunchtime lecture by Dr Maria Zytaruk on the history of seed exchange which focused on the packaging the collections were held in.