The Textile Museum, long located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, up and moved in 2015 to this new and larger location at the intersection of G and 21st streets, on the George Washington University campus. In relocating from its charming town-house location off of Embassy Row to a prime spot on GW’s urban campus in Foggy Bottom, the nearly century-old Textile Museum tripled its space and was, in a sense, reborn within this custom-designed, 46,000-square-foot gallery. Curators pull from the museum’s collection of some 20,000 textiles spanning 5,000 years and five continents to mount exhibits that in one way or another ask: How do clothes, adornments, and fabric furnishings articulate self and status within cultural, political, social, religious, and ethnic frameworks? How do textiles reveal identities? Here’s an example (from 2017): “Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse” presents the work of three designers and their creative approaches to recycling textiles, pioneering fresh takes on old standards.
Meanwhile, on the second floor of the building, stemming off the Textile Museum’s large gallery, is the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, totally unrelated to textiles but fascinating in its own right for the display of maps, prints, old photos, and rare letters that fill you in on life in the capital from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
- Elise Hartman Ford