Coastal South Carolina USA


The Charleston Museum Presents Historic Textiles and Clothing Collection


The Charleston Museum’s historic textiles and clothing collection is among the finest in the southeastern United States. To increase public accessibility to this rich collection, the Museum announces the creation of a 2,000 square-foot permanent textile gallery that will feature rotating exhibits. This installation will facilitate expanded public and scholarly access to the collections, and will also enhance the Museum’s ability to focus on specific, related topics such as particular historical periods, fashions, and the important role of women in Lowcountry history. The textile gallery will open to the public on October 14, 2010.

Located on the Museum’s second floor, the historic textiles gallery will feature appropriate environmental conditions, conservationally-sound casework to house the objects, specialized case lighting and mounts as well as interactive experiences for adults and children. Inspired by exhibitions of similar focus, including that at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and made possible by the generosity of foundations, private donors and the Museum’s FANS volunteers, the new gallery will be configured to provide optimal viewing for the visitor and maximum flexibility for the display of different kinds of objects.

Overall design will accommodate major themed exhibits which fill the entire gallery or the showing of two or more smaller exhibitions at once. A special section will feature study drawers whereby visitors can pull drawers open to view objects, allowing for access to small scale items within a specific theme. According to Museum Director John Brumgardt, “Public interest in our outstanding historical textiles has been repeatedly demonstrated for several years by strong response to special exhibitions here. This wonderful gallery will at last provide a permanent venue for related educational programs and the sharing, over time, of all portions of those collections with our visitors. We are deeply grateful to those whose financial support made this possible.”

The textile gallery will open on October 14, 2010 with Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War—a Museum contribution to the community’s Sesquicentennial commemoration—and will be followed by a succession of textile exhibits to cover historic clothing (men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories), decorative needlework (quilts, samplers, embroideries, household textiles, and other assorted stitchery), and militaria (uniforms and flags). “In this new textile gallery, we can display many more examples from our extensive textile and clothing collection, in different contexts and through various themes. The state-of-the-art casework and lighting will allow us to include rare and fragile pieces previously considered too delicate for exhibition and to focus on a wide range of interesting topics,” explains Curator of Textiles Jan Hiester.

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