Staff profile

Dr Ryan Nutting

Lecturer in Public History and Heritage

Ryan Nutting in the University of Derby Atrium




College of Arts, Humanities and Education





I am a Lecturer in History and lead the MA Programme in Public History and Heritage. I am eager to help our students understand and engage with the current issues and controversies facing the heritage sector.

My main interests are examining and exploring the current debates in museum collecting and curation, material culture studies, museum and object histories, and museum decolonization.

Teaching responsibilities

I lead the MA Programme in Public History and Heritage and teach courses on developing audiences, curation and conservation, heritage management funding and marketing, and supervise MA student dissertations and consultancy projects.

Professional interests

I am interested in developing closer links with organisations in the creative and cultural industries, such as the heritage sector in Britain and internationally. I am also excited about developing opportunities for our students to work with organisations in the heritage sector.

Research interests

I received my PhD in 2017 from the University of Leicester. This work examined the changing interpretation of four sets of miniature ethnographic models purchased by Frederick Horniman in Asia in 1894 and 1895 and displayed in the Horniman Free Museum until it closed in early 1898. Utilizing theories on miniature objects, museum education, and postcolonial theories, I examined how the interpretation of these objects changed depending upon the viewer and how these models represent rich resources for examining late nineteenth-century British views of other cultures. My more recent work focuses on the history, collecting, displaying, and interpretation of objects to convey information and construct knowledge on places, cultures, and peoples in museums, museum education policies and practices in the late nineteenth century, and museum decolonization. I am interested in conducting research on museum histories, the biographies of objects, tourist art, and museum decolonization.

Membership of professional bodies

Member of ICOM - International Council of Museums


Recent conferences

Since 2019, I delivered the following conference papers and original talks:

Experience in industry

I possess over fifteen years of experience working in the heritage industry including working in museums and archives in the United States and the United Kingdom. This experience includes working in and leading museum collections and education departments, developing and running museum programming as well as planning and fabricating museum exhibitions.

International experience

I have delivered presentations to a wide array of audiences including museum professionals, and the general public as well as conferences focused on museum studies, material culture studies, Victorian Studies, and travel writing in the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Spain, Belgium, and Italy. I have also delivered a guest lecture at the University of Iceland on late nineteenth-century museum history. Furthermore, between October 2020 and March 2021, I served as an International Fellow at the Kulturwissenschaftliche Institut Essen (KWI) in Essen, Germany where I researched the changing interpretations of netsuke and perceptions of Japan at the Museum Folkwang in the 21st century. While at the KWI, I gave talks on material culture studies, my research at the Museum Folkwang, and moderated a talk on museum decolonization.

Additional interests and activities


In the media

Colonial Collecting and Representation” on 11 March 2021 as part of the Memory and Commemoration Course with the Academy in Exile at the Freie Universität in Berlin Germany.

Recent publications

Academic Journal Article- "'Impressive Scenes Full of Life and Humour': The Interpretation of Netsuke at the Museum Folkwang 2010 to 2021" in Collections A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals

Book Chapter- “’I visited the Natural History Museum, which is very good, and also the Mining Museum…’Frederick Horniman and His Reviews of Museum Practices at the end of the Nineteenth Century” in Turistas, visitantes, seguidores. El público de los museos entre los siglos XIX y XXI: perspectivas de futuro. Actas del IV Congreso Internacional celebrado el 17 de mayo de 2021. Cecila Casas Desantes and Demian Ramos San Pedro (coords.). Madrid: Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports and Museo Cerralbo (2022) 40-51

Book Review- “Nina Simone’s Gum” in Collections A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals 18:4 (2022) 586-588

Academic Journal Article- “’He states that this is the most lovely building he has ever had the pleasure of seeing…’ the Travel Writing and Collecting of Frederick Horniman” in Journeys The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing 22:2 (2021) 1-20

Academic Journal Article- “’All Will be Amply Labelled…’ The Educational Policies of the Horniman Free Museum” in Museums and Society 19:3 (2021) 317-329

Academic Journal Article Co-authored with Jeni Morris- “The Origin of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester” in Museologica Brunensia 5:1 (2016) 62-67

Conference Review- “Conference Review: Museums Alive! Exploring How Museums Behave Like Living Beings” in Museological Review 19 (2015) 5-8