Born and trained in England, Caroline Goldthorpe began her career as a curator by volunteering in the Department of Textiles and Dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum at the age of 15. She interned during high school and college and then worked there as a curator for four years. During that time she was also involved with the temporary exhibits of judicial robes at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Caroline moved to run the Costume and Textiles Collection at Hampshire County Museum Service and subsequently was also Curator of the Willis Local History Museum. At the Willis Museum, she oversaw the physical move of the museum from its original location to the refurbished Town Hall, with considerable community liaison. After three years she left to become Deputy Head of the Costume Department at the Museum of London, which included the Royal Loan costume collection. In the time that she was there Caroline co-curated the temporary exhibits Fans and Dolls.
Moving to New York, Caroline was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for six years, and curated the exhibition (and wrote the accompanying book) From Queen to Empress; Victorian Dress 1837-1877, seen by over 200,000 people in its four month run. She headed a team of 32 curatorial and conservation staff, volunteers and interns, and negotiated significant international loans including dresses worn by Queen Victoria.
Caroline was subsequently curatorial consultant for Ringwood Manor, the summer home of the Cooper-Hewitt family, taught in the Museum Studies MA program at the Fashion Institute of Technology and was called in by Sotheby’s New York, for “expert testimony” regarding a disputed Mary Cassatt.
After moving to Chicago, Caroline taught History of Fashion in the Art History Department at TheUniversity of Illinois at Chicago. In 2012 she joined the Textile Society for the Art Institute of Chicago and was invited and elected to the AIC Textile Society Board.
Caroline is now Director of the Museum Studies Certificate Program at Northwestern University, teaching Museum Origins and Issues and Learning and Museums, both online and in-class and received the 2008-2009 SCS Distinguished Teaching Award. She also designed and teaches the annual 2-day Summer Symposium The Exhibit: from Concept to Opening and Beyond.
For the University of Oklahoma Caroline teaches Collections Management and The House Museum in the Museum Studies MA program online, and has acted as Professional Advisor within the MA in Applied Professional Studies Program at DePaul University.
Lecturing widely on costume and textile history and museum-related issues, Caroline was invited to be the resident specialist on two costume and textile tours of museums in Paris.
She is a Lifetime Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the UK Museums Association, Association of Academic Museums and Galleries; the Costume Society of America and the Textile Society at the Art Institute.