Joelle D.J. Wickens, Ph.D.

Associate Textile Conservator, Preventive Conservation Team Head
and Affiliated Assistant Professor 

In 1989 Joelle received a B.A. in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. For the next ten years, she worked with 12-18 year-olds in inner-city Philadelphia and suburban Detroit. She led wilderness backpacking trips, mission trips to build houses for Habitat for Humanity and other similar organization, and weekly youth programs on a wide variety of topics. One of the things she gained from these years was an understanding that people learn much from books and words but physical objects and experiences can help take learning to a different level. This path eventually led Joelle to study art conservation, specifically textile conservation.


In 2003, Joelle received an MA (Distinction) Textile Conservation from the Textile Conservation Centre, University Southampton, Winchester, England. While pursuing her MA, she worked as a textile conservation intern at the National Trust’s Textile Conservation Studio, Norfolk, England and with Conservation Services, Textile Conservation Centre, Winchester, England. In 2008 she received a PhD also from the University of Southampton, the first awarded by the university in the field of conservation practice. Her thesis is entitled Eero Aarnio’s Globe: A Platform for an Investigation of Challenges and Possibilities Related to the Conservation of Twentieth Century Foam Upholstered Furniture. During her PhD studies, Joelle continued to work with Conservation Services, this time as a contract conservator.

In May 2008 Joelle returned to the United States to join the staff at Winterthur Museum. She currently serves as Associate Textile Conservator and Preventive Conservation Team Head for Winterthur Museum and Affiliated Assistant Professor for the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

Joelle has presented papers on her PhD research at conservation conferences in Sweden, Poland and the United Kingdom and published articles on both her PhD research and her MA thesis,Contract for Eternity: Preserving a Hearse Cloth made in 1505 for King Henry VII. Recent publications include co-authored papers on conservation education and community interactions as well as upholstery conservation. Joelle's current research interest include light management in historic houses, the effects of CO2 treatments for pest eradication on foam materials and the links between dyes and pest damage. Her current outreach interests focus on the development of AIC’s new Collection Care Network. She currently serves this network as the chair.

  • Joelle Wickens in textile laboratory at Winterthur
  • Joelle D. J. Wickens