WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s Textile Museum, with its collection of objects from clothing to quilts and rugs, is moving to the campus of nearby George Washington University.
Officials at the university and museum plan to announce the move Tuesday afternoon. The plan is for the collection to be part of a new museum expected to open at the university’s Foggy Bottom campus in 2014.
Washington’s Textile Museum was established in 1925 by collector George Hewitt Myers and is currently housed in two historic buildings in the city’s Kalorama neighborhood, one of them Myers’ 1913 home. The collection includes some 18,000 pieces dating back as far as 3000 B.C., including a Navajo chief’s blanket, a headband from Peru and carpet from 17th century India.
The indigenous cultures of America and pre-Colombian textiles are represented as are textiles from Asia and the Islamic world.
Materials include the expected like wool, silk, cotton and linen, but also things like bark fiber and peacock feathers.
“It’s hard to say what’s my favorite piece,” said Sumru Krody, one of two staff curators, who specializes in Islamic textiles and Egyptian and Roman textiles that date from 200 B.C. to 500 A.D.
“It’s like asking which one is your favorite child.”
Textile Museum spokeswoman Katy Clune says the collection will stay at its current location into 2013. The museum, which receives 25,000 to 35,000 visitors annually, plans eventually to sell its buildings and put the money from the sale into the textile museum’s endowment, Clune said.
The move will give the museum slightly more space. The current facility has 27,000 square feet of exhibition and storage space while the new museum is expected to have a total of 35,000 square feet, though it will also house other exhibits. The school also plans to build a 20,000 square-foot conservation center on the university’s campus in Loudoun County.
On Tuesday, George Washington University president Steven Knapp called the collection extraordinary and “one of the world’s best specialized collections.” He said students, particularly those in the school’s history, anthropology and museum studies programs, will eventually get a chance to interact with the collection as part of classes, lectures and seminars.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)