The Charleston Museum holds one of the finest historic textiles and clothing collection in the southeastern United States. To increase public accessibility to this rich collection, the Museum created 2,000 squarefoot permanent textile gallery that features rotating exhibits. This installation facilitates expanded public and scholarly access to the collections, and will also enhance the Museum's ability to focus on specific, related topics such as particular historical periods, fashions, and the important role of women in Lowcountry history.
Located on the Museum's second floor, the historic textiles gallery features appropriate environmental conditions, conservationally-sound casework to house the objects, specialized case lighting and mounts as well as interactive experiences for adults and children. Inspired by exhibitions of similar focus, including that at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and made possible by the generosity of foundations, private donors and the Museum's FANS volunteers, the new gallery provides optimal viewing for the visitor and maximum flexibility for the display of different kinds of objects.
Overall design will accommodate major themed exhibits which fill the entire gallery or the showing of two or more smaller exhibitions at once. A special section features study drawers whereby visitors can pull drawers open to view objects, allowing for access to small scale items within a specific theme. According to Museum Director John Brumgardt, "Public interest in our outstanding historical textiles has been repeatedly demonstrated for several years by strong response to special exhibitions here. This wonderful gallery will at last provide a permanent venue for related educational programs and the sharing, over time, of all portions of those collections with our visitors. We are deeply grateful to those whose financial support made this possible."