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.

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.

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

On View

A Nomad's Art: Kilims of Anatolia

Woven by women to adorn tents and camel caravans, kilims are enduring records of life in Turkey’s nomadic communities, as well as stunning examples of abstract art.

Faig Ahmed: Nonvisual Language

This intimate exhibition introduces new works and installations by acclaimed Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed.

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.

Eye of the Bird: Visions and Views of D.C.'s Past

This exhibition examines the evolution of Washington, D.C., through two new panoramic landscape paintings by local artist Peter Waddell and related works.

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.