The Textile Conservation Centre

Rachel Rhodes

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Rachel Rhodes, MATC, PG Dip Heritage Interpretation, PGCE, BA (Hons), graduated from the TCC in 2007 with a MA distinction in Textile Conservation. Her dissertation centred on exploring the history of simulated pearl bead production and how this information can be used in identifying their constituent materials and consequently their conservation when used as part of textile objects.

She was awarded the Woolmen’s prize for outstanding achievement in her year.

Rachel’s placement was spent at the V&A’s textile conservation studio where she worked on objects for display at Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. She returned to the V&A to assist with the di-instalation and surface cleaning (2006) and subsequent re-instalation of the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries in 2007.

Since graduation she has spent time working as a freelance textile conservator, for the Falklands Islands Museum and National Trust, where she worked on the conservation and re-display of the museum’s costume collection and advised on environmental management and storage. She also learned the art of wool spinning and taught the Island’s spinning group new dyeing techniques.

On returning from the Falklands, Rachel returned to the TCC where she conserved a pair of 17th century embroidered leather gloves and assisted with other conservation projects including a suite of red damask covered chairs. She also managed the digitisation of the TCC’s slide collection and helped to co-ordinate projects associated with the TCC’s closure.

Rachel began her museum career in 1991 as a volunteer oral history interviewer for The Black Country Museum while studying History of Art and design, and European Culture. Following her Post Graduated Diploma she worked at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum as Disability Access Officer. She completed an internship in collections management at Glenbow Museum, Calagary in 1994, where she worked on condition surveys and the re-storage of the museum’s ethnography collection.

Following time as a classroom teacher, Rachel returned to the museum world as Museum Education Officer for The Royal Marines Museum where she developed a specialism in using objects as historical documents. From there she moved to HMS Victory where she worked with the world-famous Victory Guides in developing education programmes for the bi-centenary of Nelson’s Death.

Rachel is a member of ICON and IIC and is continuing her career as a freelance conservator, actively seeking PACR accreditation.