The Royal Armouries is fortunate in having on its staff a number of notable scholars of arms and armour but as some reached retirement age it was seen as very unfortunate that the museum might no longer have access to the deep and authoritative knowledge held by those individuals in many areas of our subject. Several years ago it was therefore decided to create the position of Curator Emeritus for those who had formally retired from the museum but who still wished to support its activities.
The number of Curators Emeritus will always be small, and there are currently four who hold that title. They receive no payment other than to cover out-of pocket expenses but through continuing goodwill towards the Royal Armouries and dedication to arms and armour they are able to make valuable contributions to the operation of the collections of the museum.
The activities they support include:
- answering enquiries
- cataloguing aspects of the collections
- preparing publications
- giving lectures and conducting seminars
- giving advice on proposed acquisitions
- organising collection objects in reserve collections
- offering advice and guidance to younger colleagues, thereby helping to pass on some of the expertise they have developed over a lifetime of study
The position of Curator Emeritus is only open to former members of the Royal Armouries curatorial staff and the appointment of each is at the invitation of the Director General and Master of the Armouries, subsequently ratified by the Board of Trustees. The appointment is for a period of five years but can be extended by mutual consent.
The current Curators Emeritus are:
Ian Bottomley is Curator Emeritus of Oriental Collections at the Royal Armouries Museum based in Leeds.
Philip Lankester is Curator Emeritus of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries Museum based in Leeds.
Graeme Rimer is Curator Emeritus at the Royal Armouries Museum and is based in Leeds.
Peter Smithurst is Curator Emeritus of Historical Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum based in Leeds.