Dr Hilary Ketchum

Role summary

Hilary is responsible for managing the museum’s collection of fossil vertebrates and plants. This includes:

  • Developing the collections for research, display and public engagement, including new acquisitions
  • Facilitating use of the collections
  • Managing loans for research and exhibitions
  • Curation and documentation
  • Collections-based research
  • Developing new exhibitions and displays
  • Public engagement

Her expertise and research interests are on the anatomy, taxonomy and systematics of plesiosaurs.


Hilary has a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. She completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge on plesiosaurs, carrying out collections-based research in museums around the world. She has done palaeontological fieldwork in the UK, USA and South Africa.

After her PhD, Hilary gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. She has worked in national, independent and university museums including the Natural History Museum, London, the Cambridge Museum of Technology, the Sedgwick Museum and the Museum of Zoology in Cambridge. She moved back to Oxford in 2013. After a short period working for NERC as a Science Programme Officer, she joined Oxford University Museum of Natural History in 2014.

Hilary has appeared on the Channel 4 series 'Walking Through Time' and BBC Four's 'Beach Live' programme, talking about plesiosaurs.


Featured projects

Exhibition Curator, Out of the Deep: a new display of fossil sea reptiles from the time of the dinosaurs. 2016–18. Funded by DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund and WREN FCC Community Action Fund.

Team Member, Jurassic Packs: Palaeontologist Explorer Backpacks. 2017–18. Funded by L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ambassador Fund: Changing the Face of STEM.