Charlotte New

Curator of Collections

  • Charlotte New

    Charlotte New

Role

Charlotte is responsible for the day to day care of the heritage and collections of the Royal Institution. The Ri is lucky enough to hold a unique heritage collection which charts some of the major scientific developments of the last 200 years, held within its Accredited Michael Faraday Museum and the Ri Archives. An unmatched collection of artefacts and documentation including the equipment, discoveries and personal notebooks of Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, John Tyndall, James Dewar, William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg, are held for researchers and members of the public alike to enjoy and discover.

About

Charlotte was born and raised just outside of London. Having always had a passion for history, she was determined at an early age to eventually work in a museum or historical environment. Having completed her BSc in Heritage Conservation at Bournemouth University she began working for a local authority museum before moving onto managing the art and heritage at a leading London Hospital and eventually moving to Wales for six years to become Collections Manager and Assistant County Museums Officer for Pembrokeshire. Charlotte has undertaken additional conservation studies to improve her museum and archives collection care skills, hopefully ensuring unique collections like the Ri’s will be around for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

Scientific inspiration

My early scientific inspiration has to be my father. He has always made me try and look at things from an alternative perspective, question why things happen and to see if things could be improved or changed. In my family home if things got broken or electrical items didn’t work then they were taken apart and examined, fiddled with and then put back together to be tested. This couldn’t be done today with modern equipment and from a health and safety perspective, but it fascinated me as a child.

Favourite experiment or demo

I love Faraday’s Mercury Bath or his electric magnetic rotary apparatus. This simple apparatus/demo from 1831 demonstrates how electrical energy can be transformed into mechanical energy. Its simplicity as a demo hides the true importance of the discovery of a principle which still has far reaching effects today. I love this demo even more for the fact that it first took place in the basement of the Ri and the original equipment and notebook are still held in the collections.

Best thing about the Ri

It’s simple, it’s history. The Ri is unique in the fact that it combines its science communication with its historical collections and it has always done this since its foundation in 1799.  

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