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 the "Inspiring Beauty" exhibition

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 10:00am to Monday, July 24, 2017 - 5:00pm

Stunning ensembles by leading designers told the story of the Ebony Fashion Fair and its creator Eunice W. Johnson, who broke the color barrier to bring global fashion to African-American audiences.

Detail of bingata textile

Bingata! Only in Okinawa

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 10:00am to Monday, January 30, 2017 - 5:00pm

This special showing of textile treasures from Okinawan museum collections featured brightly colored bingata—traditional resist-dyed fabrics—and contemporary works by Okinawan artists and fashion designers.

27-Star James K. Polk and George M. Dallas Campaign Parade Flag

Your Next President . . . ! The Campaign Art of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 10:00am to Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 5:00pm

Patriotic textiles from the Collection of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman illustrated how presidential campaigning developed in the 19th century.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

On View

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads

Collector and former Textile Museum trustee Lloyd Cotsen challenged thirty-six leading fiber artists worldwide to create a dynamic three-dimensional work sized to fit within a standardized box.

Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse

"Scraps" presents the work of three designers who have pioneered creative approaches to recycling textiles: Luisa Cevese in Milan; Christina Kim in Los Angeles; and Reiko Sudo in Tokyo.

Detail of pillar rug from the museum's collections

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.

For the Record: Picturing D.C.

Compelling images selected through the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s annual juried competition document the city’s evolving urban landscape through the eyes of local artists.

A Collector’s Vision: Selections from the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection

A new 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 October 18.

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.