Freelance Museum Consultancy

Curriculum Vitae

Name Kate Pontin

Date of birth 08.08.63

Current Employment Details

Consultant: Education and Evaluation (March 2000 – present)

Recent contract work includes:

  • NLHF Evaluation Report for Harrow Museum development
  • Evaluation of a project on the Homefront with older people across outer London Boroughs with a focus on using film
  • Evaluation of NLHF project at Brooklands Museum
  • Evaluation of Audience development programme for Surrey Wildlife Trust
  • Evaluation of a heritage project with Leonard Cheshire Disability

Evaluation projects for developing audiences include:

  • Summative evaluation for the Imperial War Museum on its new programme for schools and associated professional development, Build the Truce
  • Consultation with teachers for the voluntary run museum at Brentford to develop a schools’ programme
  • Evaluation of a new National Trust Programme for outdoor activities with families
  • Summative Evaluation of Birmingham Museum’s ‘Ask the Audience’ project, a three-year community engagement project funded by HLF consulting with communities from traditionally excluded groups to develop new museum audiences and included their input into new galleries. This project developed out of previous audience building projects eg with young people and where a “panel” was developed to support future museum development.
  • Evaluation of archives project Moving Here with minority and other excluded groups for the National Archives and other museums and archives in the Midlands and the North – in partnership, working with a range of minority groups including Yemenese, Chinese, Irish and Asian communities. Consultation with all the groups as well as the staff and partners with a range of tools including informal focus groups, emails, interviews, observation of outputs.
  • Old Royal Naval College HLF school project on Journeys – with pre- and post- visit evaluation.  The learning team runs an established schools programme at the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC). The Trafalgar schools cluster group consists of 7 schools in the local area with two secondary schools, and 6 primary schools and one Early Years Centre and was keen to develop stronger relations with the ORNC. Data was gathered from a number of different sources included pre- and post-visit feedback from pupils and teachers, observations including statistical data via a checklist of engagement levels, attainment targets, focus groups and viewing outputs (samples of English work)
  • Evaluation of arts focused project, Culture Shared for Sussex Creative Partnerships which consulted with teachers and art practitioners on the success of the project (including learning outcomes)
  • Evaluation of Under 5s activities in the new galleries at Stoke on Trent Museum and Art Gallery (with links to the then new guidelines for preschool learning).  Evaluation of Renaissance funded education work for history and science galleries (but including cross curricular links) at Key Stage 2.
  • Evaluation of schools programme for touring exhibition (jointly produced with the British Museum) on Games at Gosport Museum (Across the Board) and published in Across the Board, an evaluation in the Journal for Education in Museums 2006For further information see

Other Roles:

  • Museums Association Mentor, Freelance Network Convenor for GEM, member of VSG
  • School Governor
  • Associate Tutor for the University of Leicester, Museum Studies Dept for distance learning courses in museum studies, visitor studies and interpretation. I have written elements of the new distance learning course on visitor studies


  • Developing methodologies for evaluation in museums and heritage organisations
  • Other research interests include evaluation and audience studies especially those with young people and minority groups

Research Publications:

  • Evaluation of school work in the Rutland Dinosaur Gallery in Museum, Media and Message (Ed, E Hooper Greenhill), 1995
  • Talking to each other: conversations between carers and children in an exhibition in JEM 18, 1997
  • Museum and Gallery INSET: Teachers’ attitudes and priorities, in JEM 21, 2000, pp 3-8 (with Vicky Woollard)
  • Hawthorne, E. and Pontin, K; Museum Fever and Represent, lessons for working with young people in museums, West Midlands Regional Museums Council 
  • What is evaluation for? In the responsive Museum, working with Audiences in the Twenty-First Century, Ed Lang, Reeve and Woollard
  • Across the Board, an evaluation in the Journal for Education in Museums 2006
  • Learning to Live, Museums, young people and education, ippr, Ed K Bellamy and Carey Oppenheim (eds).  “Why Young People? Attracting a new audience to our museums”

Other articles include items in newsletters of GEM News, Visitor Studies Group (on line), Geological Curators’ Group


  • “Designing Websites” course, Spelthorne College, Ashford, Surrey
  • Using Computer software for qualitative analysis, Visitor Studies Group workshop
  • FMA December 2006, CPD including unit on using IT in museums
  • Child Protection, Safe guarding children
  • Environmental distance learning courses including Sustainable Scotland (Open University) and Climate Change: An introduction (Oxford University)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice

Previous Posts

Local Heritage Education Officer

London Borough of Hillingdon (full time 1992 – 1996 and part-time 1996-2000)

– setting up of a new service and subsequent running of a museums and archives education and outreach service, including loans, teacher training, packs, workshops, and events, reminiscence work and display. The post included management of a budget and staff

Museum Education Officer (Natural Sciences)

Leicestershire Museums, Arts and Records Service (1988 –1992)

Graduate Trainee (Natural Sciences)

Leicestershire Museums, Arts and Records Service 1986 -1988

Curatorial Trainee in Natural Sciences Department. 

Previous voluntary professional posts

Committee member: Group for Education in Museums, Geological Curator’s Group, Earth Sciences Teachers’ Association, Visitor Studies Group including Chair


A’ Levels (1981) in Maths, Geology and Chemistry

BSc (Hons) in Geological Sciences at the University of Birmingham (1984)

Subsidiary subjects passed in Archaeology, Computer Science and Surveying.

MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester (Certificate course in 1986/7 converted to a master degree in 1993.  Thesis on the evaluation of school use of natural sciences gallery at Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery).

Museums Diploma and AMA passed in 1989, FMA Passed 2007

Postgraduate research 1994-2001 on learning in museums and research methodology

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2013)