Nigel Larkin B.A.(Hons) M.Sc. FRGS
Nigel is a conservator of natural history specimens specialising in the excavation, preparation, conservation, curation, storage and display of geological, palaeontological, archaeological and osteological material. He uses his blacksmithing and welding skills to make bespoke mounts for displaying museum specimens (up to the size of Asian elephants and Fin whales!) and also undertakes the moulding of museum specimens to produce high quality casts.
After working there full time for five years his project-funded contracts came to an end, but he still occasionally works for the Natural History Museum in a freelance capacity. He has assisted the Engineering Section of the Exhibitions and Education Department in mounting and installing geological material in the Earth Galleries exhibition, assisted in installing the travelling Kokoro robotic dinosaurs and has helped to organise major palaeontological excavations abroad (as site manager) for the Natural History Museum on several occasions.
After leaving the NHM, Nigel's next major contract was to manage the West Runton Elephant Conservation Project for Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. This was externally financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. He was responsible for designing and implementing the remedial and preventive conservation strategies and the curation of the West Runton Elephant and associated fauna (several hundred very important sub-fossil Pleistocene specimens). This included creating a new lab facility, managing staff and volunteers, creating temporary displays, delivering talks to the public, attracting funding, creating risk assessments, curating the material, moulding bones and casting replicas for research purposes, testing materials and publishing conservation research. Other departmental duties included: advising the Museums Service and general public on geological and palaeontological conservation and general natural history conservation; conserving and installing specimens as part of the £12million Norwich Castle Museum Redevelopment Project (HLF funded); advising on and undertaking preventive and remedial conservation of the geology collections and other natural history collections; identifying geological specimens; undertaking collections surveys; undertaking training of staff and public in conservation issues; and installing and maintaining various environmental monitoring systems.
After the West Runton Elephant Conservation Project was completed, Nigel was the Curator of Geology for Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service for several years. By then Norfolk Museums Service was the Hub museum service for the whole of the Eastern Regions. This position involved further experience in remedial conservation and preventive conservation projects, curation, documentation, conservation assessments and raising funds.
Nigel worked as a conservator and curator in national museums or regional museums services for over 20 years, and in addition undertook a variety of freelance projects in his own time during this period. Now he works in a freelance capacity full time, mostly at home in Shropshire where he has a conservation studio.
Nigel recently completed a part-time Masters Degree in 'Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Systems' with the University of East London and the Centre for Alternative Technology. This is to enable him to provide advice to museums on how to conserve their energy with low-cost, low-tech solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs. One tool he uses for assessing museum environments including analysing display areas and collection storage areas is an infra-red thermal imaging camera.
Memberships and affilations etc
Nigel Larkin has worked with Bernard Cribbins, Jonny Vaughn, Nigel Marven, Tony Robinson, Bryan McNerney, Phil Harding,
Helen Geake, Bill Oddie, Adam Hart-Davies, Simon King, Chris Packham, Alice Roberts, Aubrey Manning, Jessica Holm and Hermione Cockburn on such
TV programs as Moviewatch, Coast, Fossil Detectives, The Natural History of Britain, Springwatch Special, Live From Dinosaur Island,
Fishing For History, Prehistoric Park, What Prehistory Did For Us, The Museum of Life and Time Team Specials and he has presented various
episodes of ‘Inside Out’ in the Eastern Region. He has also worked on various BBC Radio Four programs such as Fascinating Deaths with Jessica Holm,
Unearthing Mysteries with Aubrey Manning, Making History, Open Country and the Prehistoric Handbook amongst others, plus America’s National Public Radio (NPR) and has been interviewed on local radio stations numerous times. For further details see below.
In the course of his work he has also had the pleasure of meeting: Princess Diana, Princes William & Harry, David Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum and Ray Harryhausen amongst others.
Television work, in approximate chronological order:
1994: ‘Def II’, a BBC2 programme about stereotyping ‘scientists’.
1990-1995: Various documentaries and news reports when working at the Natural History Museum, London.
1990 to the present: Various interviews for local news stories in London, York, East Anglia etc.
1993: Moviewatch (Channel 4), reviewing the first Jurassic Park film, in 1993. See below!
Moviewatch Jurassic Park special (1993) part 1:
Moviewatch Jurassic Park special (1993) part 2:
1997: National Geographic Neanderthals programme.
1998: BBC and the The Open University’s ‘Lost Worlds’
2000: Made props (including a full-size articulating Neanderthal skeleton) for Wall to Wall TV’s ‘ Neanderthal’ documentary.
2001: BBC’s Live From Dinosaur Island. "Sunday 10 June 2001 saw the start of a new television series on BBC2 - Live From Dinosaur Island, a live broadcast of Britain's biggest dinosaur hunt. In 6 days, the palaeontological team hunted for at least five different species of dinosaur in six different sites on the South-West coast of the Island. The programmes were 60 minutes each, being broadcast on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with an 'omnibus' edition on Sunday. It was also 'narrowcast' live on the web at the BBC's dinosaur site”. As well as running the preparation and conservation lab to clean material coming in from the six excavation sites (he supplied all the equipment, materials and volunteers for this, as well as organising elements of the excavations), he also presented live to camera in each episode.
2003, January 13th: Presented a nine minute film which looked at some of the exciting prehistoric finds that had been unearthed in Norfolk over the previous few years, for the BBC’s Eastern region’s Inside Out series.
2004: An advisor for the eastern region for sections of the BBCs Natural History of Britain series, recommending places to film and specialists to talk to etc. Also, he appeared in programme 3 (aired in 2005).
2004, Autumn: Presented a nine minute film about pathologically deformed bones found in the grounds of Gressenhall Workhouse Museum, for the BBC’s Eastern Region’s Inside Out series.
2003, June 2nd: Presented a nine minute film exploring the history of the coprolite mining industry in East Anglia, for BBC’s Eastern Region’s Inside Out series.
2005: Involved in the filming of a couple of sites in Norfolk (Lynford and Happisburgh) relating to the early occupation of the region by Neanderthals and H. heidlebergensis for the Adam Hart-Davies series “What the Prehistory Did For Us”
2005: Filmed with Alice Roberts for an episode of ‘Coast’, relating to mammoths and other fossils now found under the North Sea.
2005: Filmed with Nigel Marven about mammoths for Impossible Production’s ‘Prehistoric Park’ (aired in 2006).
2006: Presented Imago Productions’ ‘Fishing for History’, shown on BBC1 on August 4th.
2010: Interviewed on fieldwork for ‘The Museum of Life’, the BBCs documentary series about the Natural History Museum in London.
2007/8: An advisor for the eastern region for sections of the ‘Fossil Detectives’ series, and interviewed at length in one episode about the West Runton Mammoth.
2007: Filmed with Tony Robinson and Phil Harding for a Time Team Special ‘Britains Drowned World’ about the Holocene sea level rise and the flooding of Doggerland. First aired on 24th April 2007.
2007: Made a replica of an ichthyosaur skeleton for filming 'Ballet Shoes' for the BBC.
2008: Made some props (Venus figures, pierced shells) for Alice Roberts’ series ‘The Incredible Human Journey’ (aired in 2009)
2011: Springwatch Christmas Special: Interviwed by Chris Packham about coprolites (fossil droppings).
2014: Interviewed whilst conserving giant deer skulls and antlers at a National Trust property in Northern Ireland for 'Mount Stewart Restoration' (aired in Ireland in 2015).
2017: February 15th: Interviewed for a report on 'Midlands Today' regarding the restoration work on the geology gallery at the National Trust property Biddulph Grange.
2017: February 28th: Interviwed for 'Secrets of the National Trust' (Channel 5) regarding the restoration work on the geology gallery at Biddulph Grange.
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We are members of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
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