Catherine Pearson

Research Assistant

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

Department:School of Education and Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Catherine is a Research Assistant in the FiMT Research Centre. The Centre is part of our Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research. Here, Catherine is principally involved with the maintenance of the Veterans Research Hub.


Catherine graduated with a BA (Hons) History (Medieval and Modern) from King’s College, London; she subsequently gained a MA in Museum Studies at University College London.

Her PhD research examined the history of museums and galleries from 1925-1965, with an emphasis on the period of the Second World War. Her PhD was undertaken at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and she was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award. Her PhD thesis was published by Routledge in 2017.

Catherine joined the Veterans and Families Institute in June 2017. Here, she assists with research on service provision for Commonwealth Service Personnel, veterans and their families, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

As a result of her PhD studies, Catherine discovered the journals of wartime museum curator, E J Rudsdale, and edited and published his journals as both a book and a blog. This work was supported by the Essex Heritage Fund and the Hervey Benham Charitable Trust.

During her PhD, Catherine contributed to a number of museum and history seminars and conferences. She was also secretary to the Museums and Galleries History Group, helping to arrange an international conference on museum history at the National Gallery. She has worked voluntarily for museums and archives, and undertaken research with veterans of the Royal Observer Corps. As well as this, Catherine also writes creative fiction for children and adults.

Catherine has a keen interest in qualitative research methods, with a focus on archival sources and oral history testimonies. Her previous professional experience includes academic administration, library support work, curatorial and collections management, academic research and fundraising for the arts and education.

Research interests

  • Museum history
  • Cultural history
  • Second World War Home Front studies
  • War artists
  • Wartime agricultural history
  • Wartime narratives and memoir
  • Wartime diaries and journals
  • Gender studies
  • Industrial history
  • Creative writing


  • BA (Hons) History (Medieval and Modern), King’s College, London
  • MA Museum Studies, University College London
  • PhD History and Museum Studies, University College London

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, Museums and Galleries History Group (MGHG)

Selected recent publications

Pearson, C., forthcoming. E.J. Rudsdale’s Journals of the Interwar Years.

Pearson, C. and Keene, S. (ed.), 2017. Museums in the Second World War: Curators, Culture and Change. Abingdon: Routledge.

Pearson, C., 2015. Marconi’s and Hoffmann’s Past: The Frederick Roberts Archive of Industrial History. Anglia Ruskin University.

Pearson, C., 2014. Eric Ravilious and the Wedgwood Factory. Morley College, London.

Pearson, C., 2010.  E.J. Rudsdale’s Journals of Wartime Colchester. Stroud: The History Press.

Pearson C., 2009-2015. A Civilian in the Second World War Internet blog publishing extracts from the Second World War journals of the curator and historian, E.J. Rudsdale:

‘Art for the People: Museums and Cultural Life in the Second World War’, Museological Review: Conference Proceedings, 2007, 12, 1-12.

‘Back to the Future: How World War Two shaped today’s museums’, Museums Journal, 2005, 105:2, 26-29.

Media experience

BBC Radio 4’s Making History 
BBC Essex news and interview items