Jane Gallagher

Lead Curator, Midlands

Jane Gallagher - Lead Curator

I joined the National Trust almost 28 years ago – having worked previously in museums as a Curator of Fine Art. I can’t quite believe I have stayed here for so long but it is an endlessly fascinating job: every property has a unique spirit of place and the work we do is so varied.

Tapestries and throne in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

I originally intended to study English at university but then discovered that it was possible to choose art and architectural history which from a teenager had been my passion and hobby.

Growing up with a father who was an architect fuelled my love of old buildings so the chance to study the subject was thrilling and I have never lost my curiosity to find out more about the histories and stories of places.

I’ve worked across our Wales and Midlands regions at some amazing sites and on all sorts of projects. One of my favourites was Llanerchaeron in Wales where, as part of the project team, I worked on the complete restoration of this delightful villa designed by John Nash, complete with its farmstead, walled gardens and park.

Oak leaves
Placeholder Image
Oak leaves

I’ve been Curator for Powis and Chirk Castles along the border of Wales and lots of places in the Midlands. Wightwick Manor is probably the place I feel most connected to, having a particular interest in 19th century art and design and the work of the Pre- Raphaelites.

I was able to help the property make a major purchase of some beautiful drawings by Philip Webb  for the collection there and was so pleased to see these acquired as he is a particular hero of mine.

The Lion drawing by Philip Webb
The Lion drawing by Philip Webb
The Lion drawing by Philip Webb

I’m now working with our teams at Kedleston Hall and Hardwick Hall on the east side of the region. These are two wonderful places which it’s a privilege to be involved with. 

I have to pinch myself sometimes that I am part of the team caring for them when for example I walk through the breathtaking High Great Chamber at Hardwick. 

Finding ways to engage visitors with our places in ways which are meaningful to them is a big part of my role. At the moment I am working with colleagues at Kedleston to research and re-present the important collection of objects amassed by George Nathaniel Curzon when he was Viceroy of India. 

Lord Curzon's Eastern Museum
A cabinet in the Eastern Museum at Kedleton Hall, Derbyshire
Lord Curzon's Eastern Museum

The museum was set up the Curzon family in the 1920s and has been barely updated since then so we’re looking to make some significant changes to improve it for our visitors – commissioning conservation work to the objects and revisiting the stories we tell about the collection.