You Should Be Watching: Dress and Textile Conservation

For many students, conservation coursework is the most challenging part of a program in historic costume and textiles, but also the most practical and immediately applicable. This work requires research, great attention to detail, patience and caution, and skilled stitches. Below are four fascinating videos detailing the process of conservation projects at museums preparing for fashion and textile exhibitions. The first two are recent videos from the Museum at FIT, the third an interview with the Royal BC Museum textile conservator, and the fourth an overview of tapestry conservation at the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio.

Nicole Bloomfield, conservation technologist at The Museum at FIT, explains how the museum acquired a 1917 coat by fashion designer Paul Poiret and describes the conservation treatment she performed so that it could go on display in the exhibition Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits, on view December 2, 2014 – April 25, 2015. – Full video description

Marjorie Jonas, assistant conservator at The Museum at FIT, explains her conservation treatment of a 1928 silk dress by designer Jeanne Lanvin so that it could go on display in the exhibition Faking It: Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits, on view December 2, 2014 – April 25, 2015. – Full video description

Textile Conservator Colleen Wilson discusses the labour-intensive process of conserving a silk taffeta dress from the period of the 1858 Gold Rush. This beautiful piece is featured in the Royal BC Museum’s Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC exhibition, May 13 – Oct 31, 2015. – Full video description

Ksynia Marko, head of the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio takes us through some of the processes involved in conserving tapestries. – Full video description

Watch part 2 and part 3

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