The whole world is at the MET and so are textiles.
A major American museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York possesses a textile research center of tremendous value. The Antonio Ratti Textile Center was founded in 1995 on the initiative of a generous donator, an Italian industrialist at the head of a silk empire. The space brings together collections which were otherwise scattered throughout the twelve museum departments.
The center counts over 36,000 pieces of remarkable variety across region and period. All civilizations are represented from prehistory into the 20th century. One can find for example, North American folk patchworks, traditional South American textiles, and precious Asian silks, as well as a significant collection of large-scaled Renaissance tapestries, and archeological Egyptian coptic fragments.
Considered one of the largest textile conservatories in the world, The Antonio Ratti Textile Center is unfolding over 2300 square meters in the museum’s basement, offering an exceptional repository for such fragile treasures. This unique space is also accessible for research.
Researchers, students and artists from every horizon can book an appointment to study the pieces of their choice, with the support of the in-house staff. I myself had the chance to go there several times to study different objects. This open policy is remarkable. It is a way to diffuse the richness of the museum’s textile holdings and encourage textile research on an international scale.
(To read: a more in-depth article on the Maison d’Exceptions online magazine.)
Crédits photos : Antonio Ratti Textile Center