GW adds Textile Museum to future campus museum site

University President Steven Knapp announced GW's partnership with the Textile Museum at Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday. Gabriella Demczuk | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A textile museum will join forces with the future George Washington University Museum, University President Steven Knapp announced Tuesday, adding art from around the world to the site that will also feature a collection of historical D.C. artifacts.

The Textile Museum’s move to the Foggy Bottom Campus completes the GW Museum, which is slated to open in 2014.

“The affiliation with the Textile Museum and the construction of the George Washington University Museum reaffirms the University’s role as a vibrant center for artistic discovery and discourse,” Knapp said.

The University will construct a new building for the Textile Museum, which will sit on top of the rose garden on 21st and G streets, adjacent to University Yard. Knapp said the construction, which is included in the 2007 campus plan, does not have a cost estimate yet because the design is in its early stages.

“This collaboration between our two institutions creates unparalleled opportunities for students, faculties and scholars, as well as for the general public,” Knapp said. “It will allow George Washington scholars to integrate these spectacular collections in a wide range of academic studies.”

The textile exhibits will complement the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, which will celebrate the District’s history, in the neighboring Woodhull House, the current headquarters of the University Police Department. GW will use Small’s $5 million donation to renovate the building and design gallery space for his historical collection.

“I think the key part is a museum that is aimed at promoting artistic, historical and cultural understanding in an academic setting,” Knapp said. “We have a vision of reaching out in the community and electronically around the world. It will be a museum that will be local but also global. It will be a museum that will be an educational institution but also a public heritage.”

Dean Kessman, chair of the fine arts and art history department, said the Textile Museum creates a “fantastic situation” for his department.

“We’re in a city that has all the Smithsonians, and at a University with a partnership with the Phillips Museum, but having something here on campus says a lot about the commitment of the University to the arts,” Kessman said. “It’s also a resource for our students to look at actual objects rather than slides or digital projections.”

The Textile Museum, which is located on S and 23rd streets, opened in 1925 and harbors ancient and modern textile and carpet collections from Asia, Africa and the Americas. The museum operates under a $3 million annual balanced budget and draws 30,000 visitors a year, Textile Museum board of trustees president Bruce Baganz said. The museum will continue programming at its current location until the move is completed.

“We are thrilled to be part of George Washington University,” Baganz said. “The identity of the museum, with its rich tradition that has developed over a long period of time, is important for all of us to preserve, and our mission will stay the same as we move to campus.”

The GW museums will not charge admission.




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