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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

Detail of robe, Central Asia

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats

Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 10:00am to Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 5:00pm

This exhibition featured the late Murad Megalli's collection of nearly 200 spectacular nineteenth-century ikats, generously donated to The Textile Museum.

Lucienne Day, "Helix," 1974

Art by the Yard: Women Design Mid-Century Britain

Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 10:00am to Sunday, September 12, 2010 - 5:00pm

This exhibition showcased the work of three groundbreaking women designers, who transformed the art of textile design in Britain after World War II.

The Art of Living: Textile Furnishings from the Permanent Collection

Friday, February 12, 2010 - 10:00am to Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 8:34pm

"The Art of Living" highlighted the historical and cultural breadth of The Textile Museum's collections through the display of textile furnishings made in societies ranging from the late Roman Empire and colonial Peru to Edo-period Japan and Victorian Britain.

Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection

Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 10:00am to Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 5:00pm

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto shocked the fashion world by introducing avant-garde styles that challenged received Western notions

Fabrics of Feathers and Steel: The Innovation of Nuno

Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 10:00am to Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 5:00pm

The exhibition featured eighteen examples of the Nuno studio's innovative and influential fabrics, dating from the time of the company’s founding in 1984 to the present.

A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks

Sunday, August 9, 2009 - 10:00am to Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 5:00pm

For two weeks, textiles from the collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother, were view at The Textile Museum.

Constructed Color: Amish Quilts

Saturday, April 4, 2009 - 10:00am to Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 5:00pm

Amish quilts are among the most striking and famous of all American quilt types.

Recent Acquisitions

Friday, March 6, 2009 - 10:00am to Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 5:00pm

In the past eight decades, The Textile Museum’s collections have grown from a modest group of 275 rugs and 60 related textiles to nearly 18,000 objects from around the world.

On View

Binding the Clouds: The Art of Central Asian Ikat

Through the museum’s exceptional ikat collection assembled by Dr. Guido Goldman, this exhibition focuses on textiles produced with the sophisticated dyeing technique known as “binding the clouds.”

Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China

Explore dozens of festival costumes from minority cultures in southwest China that are new to the museum’s collections.

Breaking News: Alexander Hamilton

Drawing on historical newspapers from the collection of Antonia M. Chambers, this exhibition highlights important life events and accomplishments of founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Greetings from Washington

This exhibition examines postcards relating to D.C., from their golden age at the turn of the twentieth century through the vintage glamour of mid-century graphics and beyond.

Treasures from the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana 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. Opens June 20.

Detail of artwork by Vernal Bogren Swift

Selections from The Textile Museum Collections

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

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.

Expansive Visions: GW Collection Past, Present, Future

Organized by GW's Luther Brady Art Gallery and presented in the museum's lower-level galleries, this exhibition traces GW's history and evolution as a presenter of contemporary art through highlights from the university collection.