Ask collection manager Stephen

Experience the online TextielMuseum

Have you ever wondered how our rare and valuable artworks are stored safely? Ask Stephen! As a collection manager, he ensures that our collection is stored safely and doesn’t damage from bugs, incorrect humidity or temperature fluctuations. He also arranges transport when artworks are loaned to other museums and ensures that artworks don’t damage during the set-up and take-down of exhibitions.

Question & answer

The questions below were asked via our Facebook– and Instagram post and were answered by Stephen:

I have an old jacket, from (I think) the 1780’s, what is the best way to store it?

Preferably store textiles flat, to prevent tearing and deformation during long-term storage. If you cannot store garments flat, use custom-sized hangers that are additionally thickened and finished with a suitable packaging material. If you don’t have much space you could fold the jacket and use foam or fold up bubblewrap to thicken along the fold to make them less sharp.

If an artwork rips or gets too old, is there a way to fix the textiles and works?

If an artwork becomes damaged it has to be restored. We either ask a textile conservator for advise and do the restorations ourselves or we hire the restorer to do the restoration. Most of the times it can still be fixed.

Do you offer online education?

The TextielMuseum doesn’t offer eduction. But if you are looking for an eduction in collectionmanagement you could try Reinwardt Academie in Amsterdam.

What do you do to prevent moths and silverfish?

We use adhesive traps to monitor if there are many moths or silverfish in the depot. If this is the case, we are forced to destroy them with poison. We approach specialists for this. To prevent moths we also put new (woolen) objects into the freezer for 48 hours, to keep the risk of contamination in the museum as low as possible.

How many artworks do you have in storage and how much space is available for that?

We currently have around 27.000 objects in the collection, spread across 1350 m2 of depot space. But our collection doesn’t only consist of artworks. Much of the collection also consists of industrial heritage. You can think of looms, weaving machines, knitting machines, spinning wheels, everything that was used to manufacture textiles is in our collection. We also have many design drawings by artists, textile design (such as damask tablecloths and rugs) and an archive about the history of the (Tilburg) textile industry.

Is there a digital system to remember where all collection items are stored? Can you retrieve every collection piece yourself?

Everything is numbered and registered via a digital registration system. As a result, every collection piece can (almost) always be found.

I would love to see how your average day at work looks like

This is how my day looks like when I’m preparing a new exhibition.

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