Growing up in America, I was always drawn to the past and those things that bore witness to it: old books and houses, family heirlooms and oral histories. These seemed to me talismans, offering portals to an otherwise inaccessible world. This passion drove me to study history with a focus on the objects and spaces that survive from it, and to listen for the stories they tell us about the people who made and used them. For anyone interested in the lives of those persons normally forgotten in the official histories of kings and bishops, historic objects and buildings offer vital testimony.
Twenty years ago, I moved to the UK to live among the medieval buildings and images with which I had become enthralled, first in Oxford but now for many years in Cambridge, where I live with my husband and two sons. During and after my doctoral research into medieval English material culture and history, I have been passionate about sharing my love of the past and its remnants, and have written for Country Life and BBC History Magazine, and worked with organisations including English Heritage, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Church Monuments Society.
Today, I work in the UK heritage sector as Director of Programmes at the Architectural Heritage Fund, where I lead a team of thirteen focused on providing advice and grant support to charities seeking to conserve and adapt historic buildings for new uses. I also serve as President of the Monumental Brass Society, an organisation founded in 1887 to support the study, preservation, and appreciation of one of the England's most important native art and historical collections.