GW Museum and Textile Museum to focus on students

The new GW Museum and Textile Museum, which opens on Saturday, includes textiles that are more than 5000 years old. Leah Edwards | Hatchet Photographer
The new GW Museum and Textile Museum, which opens on Saturday, includes textiles that are more than 5000 years old. Leah Edwards | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Robin Eberhardt.

Students and faculty can walk around the galleries of the GW Museum and Textile Museum starting this Saturday to get glimpse of ancient rugs and tapestries from around the world.

The new museum on G and 21st streets showcases carpets, clothes, maps and textiles dating back as much as 5,000 years. The museum has dedicated community space and staffers at the museum will host programs to help students engage with the artifacts, John Wetenhall, the museum’s director said.

“One of the things we strive to do is to make this room accessible for a broad group of students,” Wetenhall said.

Wetenhall added that museum staff purposefully set the museum’s closing time to 6:30 p.m., after business hours, during the week to accommodate students, faculty and neighbors who have work or class during the day.

The museum is began making the move to Foggy Bottom in fall 2012 after an 87-year stint in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.

Here are some of the ways that the University is trying to open the museum to student participation:

The museum will place an emphasis on students, with  student-led tours and opportunities for students to intern and design exhibits. Leah Edwards | Hatchet Photographer
The museum will place an emphasis on students, with student-led tours and opportunities for students to intern and design exhibits. Leah Edwards | Hatchet Photographer

1. Students will be able to lead tours of the exhibits.

Wetenhall said the museum asks student tour guides to become familiar with at least one of the exhibits and then they can design a short 10-minute tour based on their preferences.

“We purposely asked the students to devise their own tours, rather us than telling them,” Wetenhall said. “We asked them, ‘What would you colleagues want?’”

2. Students can intern at the museum and gain hands-on experience.

Graduate student Warren Lewis interns for the museum and did the lighting for the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana exhibits in Woodhull House, connected to the museum. Those exhibits displays rare maps, drawings and letters, according to a release.

“To actually have a better understanding of how the lighting works, it’s been an amazing process,” Lewis said.

3. Graduate students can help design the exhibits.

Adriane Roberts, also a graduate student, helped to design the exhibits for the two Washingtoniana exhibits and the textile exhibit that will open in September. She said that she already received a job offer after she designed the displays in the museum.

“Just being part of the process for designing these opening exhibits, that was actually an amazing experience to get the hands-on process, from getting a list of the objects to a completed design,” Roberts said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.