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American Textile History Museum downs shutters

The American Textile History Museum is shut for good. The museum found operating on a shrinking budget impossible. In addition there were serious operational challenges and other circumstances. Programs and classes at the museum will end June 30. Its collection will be preserved elsewhere.

The museum will still collect donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations to support the hours necessary to transfer the collection to another organization for long-term stewardship.

The museum opened in 1960. It tells the story of America through the art, history and science of textiles. It holds the world’s largest and most important collection of tools, hand looms, early production machines, spinning wheels as well as more than five million pieces of textile prints, fabric samples, rolled textiles coverlets, and costumes.

It documents and displays the history of textiles from long ago to modern space craft, haute couture and industrial safety uniforms. Visitors learn about synthetic fabrics and how expensive fabric was until mills did the weaving. It has one of the first nylon stocking knitting machines.

The central hall of the main exhibit is a ramp which goes up three floors. At the top is the loom factory which has lots of moving parts. The museum also offers spinning classes.