Staff profile

Kathleen McIlvenna

Lecturer in History




College of Arts, Humanities and Education




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Lecturer in History with interests in nineteenth century British social and economic history and Public History

Teaching responsibilities

I teach a number of modules on the MA in Public History and Heritage including:

Hertiage Managament and Marketing

Curation and Conservation in the Digital Age

Understanding Audience and Audience Development

Professional interests

I am interested in nineteenth century British history with particular reference to histories of welfare, labour, old age and the Post Office. Additionally I have interests in the social meaning of money and issues surrounding entitlement.

I am also interested in Public History, with a particular interest in the power structures related to the history of museums and heritage site, as well as co-production involving communities and local and national institutions. I would also like to explore the relationship between historians and family and local historians further.

Research interests

I am currently finishing a PhD entitled 'From the Civil List to Old Age Pensions: The British Government, Superannuation and Pensions 1810-1910', which is the result of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Insititute of Historical Research and the Postal Museum.

Following a postdoctoral researcher position with Kingston University on georgaphies of health in the nineteenth century Post Office I am also writing an article focusing on medical officers and occupational health in the Post Office. Additionally I have presented and written papers related to the Victorian Sunday Labour debate and postal employees.

I have been involved in oraganising and evaluating museum remix events and am investigating ways to take this research further.

Membership of professional bodies

Museum Association Individual Member

Public History IHR Seminar Convener

Raphael Samual Centra Postgraduate Team Member

Social History Society Postgraduate Committee Member (2015-2017)

Experience in industry

I have worked for a range of museums from small local authority museums to large multi-site
national museums in roles that have given me a broad knowledge and insight into a variety of departments and various functions of museums.
My career started in the development department of the Science Museum, London and operated across the Science Museum Group sites. I have since worked as Museum Assistant at Enfield Museum Service and as Assistant Curator at the Royal Armouries based at the Tower of London. I have also held a number of intership and volunteer positions in institutions including the National Maritime Museum, Hackney Museum and the Postal Museum.

Recent publications


'Developing local narratives for objects in national collections: Lessons learned from the ‘Number please? Working with the Enfield Exchange’ project' with Dr Hilary Geoghegan and Merel van der Vaart, The Curator, Vol. 60 (2017)

‘Tower of London Foreshore Finds’, ‘GEM Case Studies’, Vol. 13 (2014)

Book Review: 

'Postal Culture in Europe, 1500–1800' in Social History Vol.42 Issue 1 (2017) 

Report Back: 

'Providing Public History: The Launch of the Centre for the Historical Record', in History Workshop Journal 72 (2014)