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Lisa Traynor

Lisa Traynor is Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Lisa began her museum career as a volunteer at Museums Sheffield, working with the Flood Recovery Officer to rescue, rationalise, and conserve the collection after the devastating floods of 2007. As well as working full time at the National Trust, Lisa Traynor studied for her degree in History, Heritage and Museum Studies at the University of Huddersfield between 2006 and 2011, following which she received an internship with Leeds Galleries and Museums at Temple Newsam in 2009.

In 2010 she co-curated a travelling exhibition named ‘Out of the Shadows’, focusing on the History of Mental Health within the West Riding in collaboration with Thackray Medical Museum and West Yorkshire Archives. After graduating in 2011 she worked at Lancaster Castle as a guide whilst also producing original research for the castles lecture series.

In 2012 Lisa Traynor joined the Royal Armouries, as a member of the Visitor Experience Department devising talks for visitors on the history of firearms and the different conflicts in which they were used. She then became the Firearms Documentation Assistant in December 2012, focusing on documenting the former Pattern Room Collection.

Lisa took up the post of First World War Researcher at the Royal Armouries in December 2013. Alongside her two colleagues she co-curated ‘Bullets, Blades and Battle Bowlers’ an exhibition telling the story of the rise of weapon technology during the First World War. Whilst working on this exhibition she co-authored the First World War online, writing digital entries on the development and use of the wars most iconic weapons.

In September 2014 Lisa took up the post of Assistant Curator (Firearms), during which she co-curated the temporary exhibition ‘Waterloo the Art of Battle’ and the permanent exhibition ‘The Battle of Waterloo’ at the Royal Armouries. Alongside this she co-wrote ‘The Battle of Waterloo’ which features in the Royal Armouries Collections online.

In April 2017 Lisa Traynor became Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum, and finished her research into inventor Casimir Zeglen’s silk bullet-proof vests in connection with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This research has been presented at the ICOHTEC International Conference for the History of Technology, Brasov Romania in 2014, and at Heritage Theory & Practice, Leeds City Museum, in 2016, and featured on the BBC Four series ‘Sword, Musket and Machine Gun: Britain’s Armed History.’ Her book Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Era of Assassination was published in November 2018. She is currently exploring the weapons, motives, opportunity and reactions to European assassinations 1849-1914.


  • Shooting for Accuracy: Historicity and Video Gaming, in Historia Ludens The Playing Historian, Routledge, 2020, with Jonathan Ferguson
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Era of Assassination, Royal Armouries, 2018
  • Curating Violence: Display and Representation, in Perpetrating Selves Doing Violence, Performing Identity, Palgrave, 2018, with Jonathan Ferguson
  • The Arms and Armour of the First World War. Royal Armouries, 2017, with Jonathan Ferguson & Henry Yallop.
  • ‘Uniforms, Arms & Armour’, in Daniel Maclise: The Waterloo Cartoon, Royal Academy of Arts, 2015, with Mark Murray-Flutter & Henry Yallop.
  • Bartolomeo Cotel’s gun, The Field, January 2021.
  • An Unusual gun by John Cookson, The Field, June 2020.
  • The Dawn of the Sniper, The Field, December 2018.
  • A Brunswick Patron, The Field, October 2018.
  • Collaboration, Mentoring, Researching and Friendship; ‘When the Royal Armouries Leeds met Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung, Koblenz’. ICOMAM Magazine Issue 16 December 2016.
  • The Tatham Rifles: A Diplomatic Gift?, The Field, December 2016.
  • The Colbert Gun, The Field, June 2016.
  • Weapons of the Hunt: Sporting Garniture, The Field, August 2015.
  • The Archduke and the bullet-proof vest: 19th Century Innovation versus 20th Century Firepower in Arms and Armour Vol.11 No. 2 2014.

Digital outputs

  • Shooting for Accuracy: Historicity and Video Gaming’ With Jonathan Ferguson. Royal Armouries Blog
  • Vetterli-Vitali Model 1870/97 Rifle Royal Armouries Blog
  • Make do and Mend: Prussian Pistols of the Napoleonic Wars Royal Armouries Blog
  • Online exhibition, Waterloo 1815 Produced with Mark Murray-Flutter & Henry Yallop 2015
  • The Shot Heard Around the World Royal Armouries Blog July 2014
  • Online exhibition, Arms of the First World War Produced with Jonathan Ferguson & Henry Yallop 2014.

Conference papers & lectures

  • ‘Shooting for Accuracy — Historicity and Video Gaming’ with Jonathan Ferguson, Historia Ludens — Conference on History and Gaming, University of Huddersfield, May 2017.
  • ‘The Archduke & the Bullet-proof Vest’ Heritage Theory & Practice, Leeds City Museum, November 2016
  • ‘Death on Display’, with Jonathan Ferguson, The Perpetrator Self: Violence, Gender and Emotion in Conflict and Culture in the Long Twentieth Century,
  • University of Hull & the German History Society and Technische Universität Dresden, September 2015.
  • ‘The Prussian Firearms of Waterloo’, Waterloo; The Art of Battle Study Day, Royal Armouries, June 2015.
  • ‘Franz Ferdinand & the Mystery of the Silk Vest’, Public Lecture, Royal Armouries, September 2014.
  • ‘Deadly Machines: The development and use of arms & armour during the First World War’. Public Lecture & Seminar, Royal Armouries, August 2014.
  • ‘The Bullet-proof Vest & the Archduke: 19th Century Innovation Versus 20th Century Firepower’ International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) 41st Symposium: ‘Technology in Times of Transition’, Braşov, July 2014.