Textile Museum to join up with GW

George Washington University officials are expected to announce Tuesday afternoon that they are constructing a 35,000-square-foot building that will be the new home of the Textile Museum when it opens on the Foggy Bottom campus in 2014.

The university is also building a 20,000-square-foot facility on its Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Loudoun County that will be used for storage space and conservation work.

The projects underscore a new affiliation between the two institutions, fusing the ability of university researchers to access a collection of rugs, clothing and other textiles that date as far back as 3000 B.C.

University President Steven Knapp said in a statement that the museum “will create unparalleled opportunities for students, researchers and scholars as well as for the general public.”

Bruce P. Baganz, president of the Textile Museum’s board of trustees, called the move
“perhaps the single most important development for the museum since it opened its doors in 1925.”

The Textile Museum at 2320 S St. NW has about 30,000 visitors a year, according to museum spokeswoman Katy Clune. It will continue operating at its 27,000-square-foot facility through 2013.

GW’s 2007 campus plan included the addition of a museum, and the university has been working to create one. In February, Albert H. Small donated his collection of rare historic papers — including a letter that George Washington wrote to Congress outlining the 100 miles of what would be the nation’s capital — as well as $5 million to the cause.

That collection will be featured in a 156-year-old building that will be renamed the Historic Woodhall House, Home of the Albert H. Small Washingtonia Collection. That building will be adjacent to the new museum at 21st and G streets.

Robert Samuels is a national political reporter who focuses on the intersection of politics, policy and people. He previously covered social issues in the District of Columbia.

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