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Sophie Rowe, BA (Hons), MSc, ACR

Sophie Rowe, BA (Hons), MSc, ACR

Conservator, The Polar Museum

Sponsored by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust


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Sophie read ASNaC and History of Art at the University of Cambridge and then trained as a conservator at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She specialised in the conservation of organic artefacts while working at the British Museum, and developed a sub-specialty in conserving Egyptian polychrome objects, particularly cartonnage. She is especially interested in creative mounting methods for fragile objects – it is amazing what can be achieved with LEGO! Outside her life in museums she relishes outdoor activities and camping in remote places whenever the opportunity arises. In early 2017 she spent a field season on Horseshoe Island in Antarctica cataloguing artefacts in the historic 1950's base there.


  • 2012-to date: Conservator at the Polar Museum, University of Cambridge
  • 2008-12: Conservator at Museum Conservation Services in Duxford, working on projects for private clients including the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Canterbury Museums, Jesus College, Cambridge and Brighton and Hove Museums.
  • 2006-12: A series of conservation projects at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, treating complex objects from the Antiquities collection for display.
  • 2004-5: Project conservator at the National Museum of Denmark
  • 1999-2004: Conservator, The British Museum, Organic Artefacts Section.


  • 2008: Accredited Conservator Restorer (ICON)
  • 1999: MSc (Distinction) Conservation for Archaeology and Museums, UCL
  • 1991: BA(Hons) Cantab


Selected publications

  • Rowe, S. (2017) On the provenance of a historic sledge shoe fragment, said to have been collected by Edward Wilson at the South Pole in 1912. Polar Record Vol 53, 413-426
  • Rowe, S., Siddall, R. and Stacey, R. (2011), Roman Egyptian gilded cartonnage: technical study and conservation of a mummy mask from Hawara. In Decorated Surfaces on Ancient Egyptian Objects: Technology, Deterioration and Conservation, J. Dawson, C. Rozeik. & M. Wright. Eds, Archetype, London
  • Dawson, J., Rowe, S. (2010 ), External supports and coffin trees: experiences in conserving and displaying Ancient Egyptian coffins at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean: Contributions to the 2010 IIC Congress, Istanbul, p.282-282.
  • Rowe, S., Rozeik, C. (2008) The use of cyclododecane in conservation. Reviews in conservation Vol 9, 17-31
  • Rowe, S. (2004) The effect of insect fumigation by anoxia on textiles dyed with Prussian blue. Studies in Conservation Vol.49, 259-270.

Selected podcasts

  • Interview about extreme conservation and cataloguing at Horseshoe Island, Antarctica. Listen here from 27 minutes in:
  • "Mummy case saved by Lego": a collaborative approach to conservation of an Ancient Egyptian cartonnage. Paper presented at "Understanding Egyptian Collections: Innovative display and research projects" at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 1-2 September 2014. Watch video here:

External activities

  • Editorial Panel member of Journal of Conservation
  • Accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (ICON)
  • Ordinary member Nordisk Konservator Forbund (NKF)
  • Member of East Anglian Conservators Forum (EACF)