Robert E. Child – Memorial
December 18, 2019
It is a great loss to the MuseumPest group and the greater museum community as a whole that Robert E. (Bob) Child passed away earlier this week. Bob served as the Chief Conservator for the National Museum and Galleries of Wales for many years. His intimate working knowledge with collections and conservation led him to becoming a champion for integrated pest management in museums and historic houses. Bob got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Exceter and was trained as a chemist. He was originally a research chemist for the oil industry. During his career as a conservator, he was a fellow of the international Institute for Conservation and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of Wales, University of Durham, the Institute of Archaeology, ICCROM and the Science Museum.
Through his work on collections care, Bob gained respect and a wealth of knowledge on pest related issues in museums. This led him to being an advisor on pest control to the National Trust and an advisor on preventive conservation to English Heritage. Bob worked closely with the entomologist Dave Pinniger on many different museum pest studies over the years. Bob formed his own company, Historyonics, which allowed him to continue his consultation following his career with the National Museum and Galleries of Wales. Bob was free to share his knowledge on pest related issues with the museum community and did so through ongoing workshops and lectures at all of the large international IPM conferences such as 2001 & 2010: A Pest Odyssey, the 2004 Fumigants & Pheromones Conference in Copenhagen, the IPM 2016 in Paris and most recently Bob shared his insight on pesticide regulations with the group during the IPM 2019 in Stockholm.
Bob Child was known to be an industry leader in museum IPM and his keen sense of humor and quick wit made him a joy to listen to during his presentations as well as when sharing a pint in the pub after the conference. He will be missed by all but we thank him for all that he has done for the MuseumPest community.
Robert E. (Bob) Child, left with Dave Pinniger (center) and Pat Kelley, right at the IPM 2019 conference in Stockholm in May of 2019
Thank you for your kind words. My father will be truly missed.
Lynn Weaver (Bob’s PA). A lovely tribute to Bob, he will be greatly missed by so many people in so many ways.
Hello Daniel. I have just learned of your dad’s passing on, and my deepest sympathies I pass on to you and family. I knew your dad at Exeter university, and your mum. I would love to get in touch with her again.
All best wishes
Anthony (Tony) Durant
Bob was a character and there was never a dull moment at St Fagans National History Museum when he was around.
At the lectern nobody did better than you did. You wit, your spirit was fabulous. When you spoke the audience awoke, not just giggling but at times roaring with laughter. Even the Germans!
We’ve learned a lot from you. We will miss you and we will think of you.
On behalf of the MA Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art I would like to express our condolences to Valentine and all of Bob’s family and close friends. We will greatly miss Bob’s insightful and witty lectures on conservation ethics as well as his expert supervision of dissertations.
Sincerely, Dr David Bellingham, Programme Director
I met Bob when he was operating a ‘pest desk’ in a stately home. I was immediately impressed by his knowledge, warmth, and of course he had a voice you could listen to for hours. And he supplied me with moth killing equipment for several years afterwards. Lovely chap.
I met Bob in various occasions, He was one of the pioneers of Integrated Pest Management in Museums (along with Mr. Pinnige)r. His talks in various conferences and seminars were always very well researched and extremely informative. The UK conservation sector has certainly missed one of its greats.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of his ex wife Janet I am an old Exeter friend who would love to speak to her.
Many thanks and condolences. Very sad news I have just learned .