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Behind the Scenes4th March 2022

Conservation of hidden treasures: Step into the shoes of our new Conservator, Karoline-Sofie

Close up image of rope.

With the launch of our new Ropery Gallery at the end of March, we thought it would be a great opportunity to understand how an object goes from arriving at the Dockyard to being safely ready to display within a gallery. Step forward our new Conservator Karoline-Sofie to show us what she does…

Q: What are you working on at the moment with regard to the Ropery?

A: The Ropery will now have two more galleries so you can see all the objects and craftmanship behind it. I’m currently going through some of the objects that are going into the exhibition cases and I have just completed the assessment of their condition to check if they are safe for exhibiting, safe for transport over to the Ropery and also that they won’t come apart whilst they are in the gallery.

Q: What objects can people expect to see on display and how do you go about choosing which ones?

A: This exhibition will have a mixture of archaeological and historical objects. Some of these objects are from our own collection but many are from Des Pawson’s private collection. This is a really extensive collection, the Ropery itself is still being used today so there are constantly things being added to this collection. The Collections Team have gone through every single object and picked out a set of objects for 4 different cases.

Q: What condition are many of these objects in?

A: I assess the conditions of every object. Many of these objects are in quite good condition so I might just do a surface clean. Some are more brittle than others because many of these objects have been taken straight from the sea and left somewhere so they’ve been air drying with no treatment. So I will start by cleaning the surface as there are a lot of deposits hidden inside the structure. I will then go in and stabilise the more fragile parts to make sure they won’t come apart whilst they are on display.

be sure to book a Ropery tour on your visit to The Historic Dockyard Chatham and dive deeper into the fascinating world of rope. The Ropery Gallery reopens at the end of March. Watch the full video with Karoline-Sofie below:




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