The venerable Textile Museum is moving to the campus of George Washington University, the museum and college announced Tuesday. This is the first move ever in its more than 80 years for the museum, an international destination above Dupont Circle.
The new partnership brings together two Washington institutions, creates a new space for the Textile Museum, expands the study and care of textiles in a new facility in Loudoun County and establishes a destination for tourists, researchers and students.
The 35,000 square foot museum will be located in a new addition to the historic Woodhull House at G and 21st Streets N.W.The new museum is expected to be completed in 2014
The move was first reported by our colleagues on Post Local.
The Textile Museum is home to 18,000 objects, dating back to 3,000 BC. Occupying three floors of the new facility will also be its key 20,000 volume library.
The museum, founded in 1925, will continue to operate at its S and 23rd Streets headquarters until the project is complete.
“This provides the opportunity to expand our long traditions of art, education and cultural understanding through our international connections,” said Bruce Baganz, the president of the museum’s board of trustees.
The GW campus provides a busy intersection of students, visitors, workers and residents, with 40,000 people a day walking through the immediate area. Last year the museum had 30,000 people come through the doors. “We would anticipate having a higher profile at GW, with just the foot traffic and the street profile we will have there,” said Maryclaire Ramsey, the museum director.
Steven Knapp, the university president, agreed. “Being on campus will improve their visibility and promote their education programs, ”said Knapp. And the partnership works both ways, he added. “For students who are working in art history, anthropology and other areas, all those materials will be at their fingertips. The immediate benefit is having that direct connection.”
The museum officials also said partnership with the university’s computer infrastructure will increase its national and international outreach. “We hope to be the global information switchboard for textile arts,” Baganz said.
The plans also include the construction of a 20,000 square foot conservation and resource center on the university’s Loudoun County campus. The university had previously announced that collector Albert H. Small was giving the university his archive of Washington history and $5 million toward the construction of the museum. The Woodhull House is undergoing a complete renovation.
In addition to the Small donation, the museum will help with the construction. “We are making a financial contribution,” said Baganz, “and the arrangements are still being worked out with the university.” The Textile Museum has an annual budget of $3 million and Baganz said has had a balanced budget for the last 3 years.
“This is being done out of strength with GW,” said Baganz.