This is the real “Meta-Guide” section of the Taking Care of Textiles site, because rather than just trying to offer information and instruction directly, I am primarily endeavoring to provide a guide to information that is already in publication, especially when that information is readily available on the internet. I have reviewed each link included and offered my thoughts, as well as source information.

How To Handle Antique Textiles and Costumes” is an excellent, brief primer on the essentials, from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute.

The Care and Preservation of Antique Textiles and Costumes” by Mary M. Fahey, Chief Conservator at the Henry Ford Museum, from the Henry Ford website. A good general fact sheet, very well organized, with a bibliography and supplier list included.

Acadiana Textile Care: Care and Conservation of Historic Textiles” by Jenna Tedrick Kuttruff, Curator of the Louisiana State University Textile & Costume Gallery, from the website of the International Textile and Apparel Association: The Global Organization of Textile and Apparel Scholars. A good general page with basic theory and how-to information on textile conservation in a museum setting.

Cleaning & Storing Antique Clothing” by Kristina Harris is a brief guide intended for individuals collectors of vintage clothing, particularly those who are just beginning a collection. This article is on the other end of the spectrum from museum-focused articles emphasizing the best practices of professional textile conservation. The information is summarized and excerpted from the author’s own book, the Collector’s Guide to Vintage Fashions: Identification and Values, which dates from 1999 and, as it seems to be primarily a value guide, is too outdated to likely be of great use, though I have not examined it personally.

Basic Textile Care: Structure, Storage, and Display” by Elizabeth Bittner is a downloadable Word document stored online by the University of Texas at Austin. It is a thorough academic paper with an excellent section of images. The approach is particularly relevant for this site, as the paper concludes: “When full professional conservation is not a possibility, preservation can ensure that little further damage is done and that the textile can be safely viewed and enjoyed.”

Textile Preservation” is a Wikipedia article and is therefore of somewhat dubious reliability, but it is nevertheless a reasonable introduction to basic concepts of textile conservation. However, I do not suggest relying on it for particular details of approach; consult a more specific article for the “how-to” side.

Videos on Textile Conservation:

In this first entry of an extremely informative six-video series, textile conservator Ann Frisina of the Minnesota Historical Society offers a thorough introduction to materials and techniques for properly protecting and storing heirloom textiles:

The Full Series of Conservation and Preservation of Heirloom Textiles, by the Minnesota Historical Society:

Rebecca’s Treatment Video” is a behind-the-scenes look at textile conservation practices at the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors.

Preserving Our Clothing and Textile Heritage” is a video of Dr. Michael Marendy of the Queensland Museum in Australia demonstrating three archivally safe methods of storing textiles, complete with beautiful historic pieces.

Professional Resources

So You Want To Be a Textile Conservator?” by Museum Textile Services, a conservation company. The article offers brief but practical advice that discusses both apprenticeships and graduate level academic study as approaches to a career in textile conservation.

Conservation Organizations” is a list of professional/scholarly textile conservation organizations published by the Textile Society of America, a more general professional/scholarly organization.

Some Conservation Discussions on a Mid-19th Century Focused Forum

See also:



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