Past Exhibitions

Nancy Cohen, "Estuary; Moods and Modes," 2007
Nancy Cohen's "Estuary; Moods and Modes" (2007) was on view in The Textile Museum's "Green: The Color and the Cause" exhibition.

Browse the museum's past exhibitions, inlcuding those held at The Textile Museum's original location in Washington, D.C.'s Kalorama neighborhood. Designed to both present textiles as art, and to place them in their cultural context, Textile Museum exhibitions have primarily showcased its permanent collections, but also featured works from other textile arts drawn from a variety of public and private holdings.

Detail of "Boat Travelers" by Robert Bein

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora

Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 10:00am to Sunday, September 4, 2016 - 5:00pm

Artists from around the world submitted works giving visual voice to the timely topic of diaspora.

Detail of Lily Spandorf artwork

For the Record: The Art of Lily Spandorf

Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, July 3, 2016 - 5:00pm

Co-produced and co-curated with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., this exhibition explored the art of watercolorist and journalist Lily Spandorf.

Detail from suzani

Old Patterns, New Order: Socialist Realism in Central Asia

Saturday, October 10, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 5:00pm

Organized in partnership with GW's Central Asia program, this exhibition examined the socialist realist artistic movement through paintings and textiles.

"China: Through the Lens of John Thomson" exhibition

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson

Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 5:00pm

This exhibition brought nineteenth-century China to life with images by Scottish photographer John Thomson, and colorful textiles and accessories from The Textile Museum's collections.

Photo of Mae West shoes

Unraveling Identity: Our Textiles, Our Stories

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 5:00pm

"Unraveling Identity" united textiles from across cultures to explore expressions of individual, cultural, political, and social identity throughout the ages.

Detail of print in "Seat of Empire" exhibition

Seat of Empire: Planning Washington, 1790–1801

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 5:00pm

Drawn from the Washingtoniana collection, this exhibition presented historic maps and related images that chronicled the early urban design experiment that shaped Washington, D.C.

Detail of print from Civil War exhibition

The Civil War and the Making of Modern Washington

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 5:00pm

This exhibition examined Washington, D.C.'s transformations from the beginning of the Civil War to Reconstruction through maps, prints, and illustrations.

Detail of hip wrapper—long cloth, Indonesia, The Textile Museum 1998.11.19.

Out of Southeast Asia: Art That Sustains

Friday, April 12, 2013 - 10:00am to Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 5:00pm

The last exhibition at The Textile Museum's historic location explored Southeast Asia's rich traditions and their interpretation within contemporary art and design.

Fragment of a floral serenk from a costume, The Textile Museum 1.57

The Sultan's Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 10:00am to Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 5:00pm

This exhibition chronicled how stylized flowers came to embellish nearly all media produced by the Ottoman court beginning in the mid-sixteenth century.

Silk with “five round sliced melon” motif, Japan

Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:00am to Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 5:00pm

This exhibition featured some of the sumptuous pieces created in one of Nishijin’s oldest and most illustrious workshops: Tawaraya.

Two pieces in The Textile Museum's "Sourcing the Museum" exhibition

Sourcing the Museum

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:00am to Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 5:00pm

Eleven contemporary artists explored the The Textile Museum’s historically and culturally varied collections and chose pieces to inspire new artworks.

Detail of dragon robe, China, The Textile Museum 1973.30

Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep

Friday, February 3, 2012 - 10:00am to Sunday, January 6, 2013 - 5:00pm

Drawn entirely from the museum’s collections, the textiles in this exhibition illuminated imaginative images of mythical creatures as diverse as the peoples who created them.

Piece on view in The Textile Museum's "Weaving Abstraction" exhibition

Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa

Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 10:00am to Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 5:00pm

This was the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. to showcase the artistic inventiveness and graphic power of Kuba ceremonial dance skirts.

Piece by Linda Gass, on view in The Textile Museum's "Green" exhibition

Green: the Color and the Cause

Saturday, April 16, 2011 - 10:00am to Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 5:00pm

This exhibition explored techniques for creating green textiles, the color's meanings in cultures across time and place, and ways contemporary textile artists and designers respond to concerns about the environment.

Detail of hanging or cover, Central Asia, The Textile Museum 1995.2.1.

Second Lives: the Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 10:00am to Sunday, January 8, 2012 - 5:00pm

Drawn from The Textile Museum's permanent collections, this exhibition highlighted how cultures have ingeniously repurposed worn but precious fabrics to create beautiful new textile forms.

On View

Best Laid Plans: Designs for a Capital City

This exhibition examines unrealized designs for the Washington Monument, Memorial Bridge, and other structures around the city, through historical prints and paintings from the collection.

Songs of the Civil War

This exhibition showcases historical sheet music that provided the soundtrack to a nation divided by war.

Detail of Peruvian tunic

Selections from The Textile Museum Collection

You can always find a rotating selection of objects from The Textile Museum Collection on view in the museum's lower-level galleries, including many objects that have rarely or never before been displayed.

Treasures from the Albert H. Small Collection

A selection of maps, letters, prints, and artifacts on display from the museum’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection includes recent acquisitions and rare treasures.

Textiles 101

Interactive displays allow you to enter the mind of an artist to explore fiber, structure, color, and the creative choices that influence textile design.