Val Bott was a museum consultant from 2000 to 2020. She has over 25 years’ experience of managing museums (including setting up and managing those in LB Brent and L B Wandsworth) and was for four years Deputy Director of the Museums & Galleries Commission. Val was awarded the MBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her work on heritage and conservation. She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in February 2020.
She provided thoughtful advice and support to museums and heritage organisations which were managing changes in their work. This included reviews of current services and practice, mentoring senior staff, developing strategies and feasibility studies, creating imaginative interpretative concepts and advising on grant applications.
Val also advised organisations – charitable trusts, local authorities and businesses – who wished to open up public access to collections in their care, and undertook research, ranging from surveys of professional practice to consultation with stakeholders or potential audiences. Val’s local history research includes a book on the Brentford Flood of 1841, which won the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society’s Local History Publications award in 2003, and a long-term study of nursery gardening 1650-1850 in Middlesex riverside parishes which she publishes as an occasional blog. She edits the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal.
Val chaired the William Hogarth Trust 2011-2017 and again 2019 to date, is Honorary Secretary to the Thames Explorer Trust and served as a member of the board of the Cartoon Museum 2014-2018. She edits the Newsletter of the Friends of Gunnersbury Park & Museum, is a board member of the Gunnersbury Development Trust and is joint Chairman of the committee of 10 local and family history societies which puts on the annual West London Local History Conference.