Textile Museum – Maryclaire Ramsey, Director

Textile Museum – Maryclaire Ramsey, Director


The Textile Museum is a vibrant and
robust museum. We are engaged in many projects here. We take care of our collection, 18,000
pieces. Think about that. From 3000 B.C. to the current time. Precious and fragile and
wonderful…and we look to house them and take care of them. As director of the Textile Museum, I oversee
all of the departments and work with the staff to ensure that all of future exhibitions and
our programs are really meeting the mission of the museum. I also work with the Board
of Trustees and additional staff to oversee our development program, make sure it’s active
and robust, and ensure the fiscal responsibility of the museum. The Textile Museum’s mission is to expand
the public knowledge of the artistic merit and the cultural importance of the world’s
textiles, both to our local, national and international audience. We have many audiences. Of course our core
audience are textile enthusiasts. We have a wider audience which is the general public,
who we are trying to engage so they can understand and value textiles as art just as we do here. Textiles are a universal source of commonality.
They effect all cultures, all peoples. So it is our job here to engage the public to
understand their importance, their beauty and cultural importance. We are housed in two beautiful historic homes,
about a 100 years old, here on Embassy Row. It is a gorgeous location and it is really
to our advantage because in our collection we speak to many cultures. We work from Central
Asia, to Japan, we have Western Hemisphere, we have African textiles. We have textiles
from around the world. And we are, in this location, surrounded by the Embassy’s of
the world. So we often reach out to them and work with
them because we are of the same mission. To raise awareness of… cultural awareness, and
so we work with them and our collections in the museum to create events that we may partner
in, that we can engage the public, speak to them about their culture maybe through out
textile collections. Textiles have a place everywhere in the world.
They touch every aspect of our lives. They give a history of a culture. As we look back
through many many years, through thousand and thousands of years, often we reconstruct
that history through textiles. Textiles are used in many cultures…have been used a currency,
they determine status, they are used to elevate an event, it might be a marriage, it could
be the textiles determines their status in society, just as these Ikats did. The bulkier
the Ikat the large that person was perceived at through maybe wearing multiple jackets.
That gave them a certain status in their culture. So textiles have a place throughout every
aspect of our culture and our everyday life.

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