Eleanor Wilkinson-Keys is Assistant Curator of Arms and Armour at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.
After completing a degree in English and Linguistics (BA Hons, University of Leeds 2008 – 2011) Eleanor was a Curatorial Intern at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, whilst undergoing her MA Medieval Studies (University of Leeds 2011 – 2013). She then worked at Pontefract Castle as Volunteer Coordinator where she established a successful volunteer scheme as part of a large-scale project funded by the National Lottery Fund. She later became the Volunteering and Events Coordinator across Wakefield Museums and Castles and expanded the scheme at Pontefract Castle across Wakefield Council’s other heritage sites.
Within her role at the Royal Armouries Museum, Eleanor works across the European Armour and Edged Weapons collections, and the Asian and African collection. She has a particular interest in horse armour and works closely with the museum’s equestrian objects. This includes the Royal Armouries’ large collection of shaffrons (horse head defences). Eleanor sat on the advisory board of the collaborative Warhorse: The Archaeology of a Medieval Revolution? (2020-2023), an AHRC funded project led by the University of Exeter and the University East Anglia.
Eleanor has an interest in tournament in fifteenth-century Europe, particularly the themes of spectacle and performance, horse barding and the symbolic use of decoration on tournament arms and armour. Recent projects include researching and cataloguing swords for sea service and preparing an upcoming digital exhibition.
• Wilkinson-Keys, E. 2022. A Strapping Pair of Stirrups, The Field, June 2022