The Mansion recently completed a major project of creating a dedicated textiles storage and study room. A prestigious grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, awarded in 2014, helped fund the project to transform the former third-floor trunk room into a modern space where our unique collection of original textiles can be stored to conservation standards and readily examined by staff and scholars.
Unique in the nation, this vast and challenging 600-piece collection chiefly consists of passementerie– ornamental trims such as tassels, tiebacks, festoons, edging, and fringe that were part of the original ca. 1860 window treatments. The collection also includes remains of original curtain panels and valances. Art Conservator Siobhan Lindsay worked with Curator Arlene Palmer Schwind to plan the new space and select the equipment and materials needed to clean and re-house the entire collection. Besides a new case of drawers, storage solutions included repurposing two existing closets with custom shelving and fabricating special units for rolled storage. Ms. Lindsay documented, cleaned, re-housed and stored a large part of the collection. When funds become available, textiles still stored in the Billiard Room will be treated and transferred to the new facility.
As part of the IMLS grant, an exhibit case was installed in the rear of the Mansion’s Stair Hall to display passementerie from the Parlor. Dining Room textiles are on view in another new case in the Library Hall. In the Turkish Smoking Room, visitors can now compare the reproduction fabrics and trims they see with images of the originals as shown on a digital frame. The meticulous work of planning the replication of original fabrics and trims for other Mansion rooms will be greatly facilitated thanks to the new textiles study and storage room.
Victoria Mansion is very grateful to photographer Gail Dodge who volunteered her time and expertise to photograph the textiles collection. We also thank John Sundling who interned with Ms. Lindsay and assisted with cleaning and re-housing.