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Textile Museum Symposium Draws Hundreds of Scholars to GW
A partnership with GW will soon bring the museum’s vast collection to the Foggy Bottom Campus.
October 15, 2012
By Jay Conley
More than 200 scholars from across the country and throughout Europe were present this weekend for The Textile Museum’s annual fall symposium at GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium. The event is part of a partnership that was formed in 2011 between the museum and GW.
As part of that relationship, preparations are being made for the museum to move to the university’s Foggy Bottom campus. The Textile Museum’s internationally acclaimed collection of more than 19,000 objects will become a cornerstone of the George Washington University museum, a new 35,000-square-foot custom-built facility at G and 21st streets on the Foggy Bottom campus scheduled to open in 2014.
The weekend symposium explored themes raised in the museum’s current exhibition “The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art.” The exhibit runs through March 10, 2013, and features 58 works of art that reflect the floral style that emerged in the mid-16th century and its impact on modern Turkey, the Islamic world and Europe. Items on display include a court costume, horse adornment, vestments, carpets, brocaded silks, velvets and other furnishings. The artifacts reflect the wealth, abundance and influence of an Ottoman empire that spanned seven centuries and at its height of power stretched across three continents. The exhibit chronicles how stylized tulips, carnations, hyacinths and other flowers came to embellish nearly all media produced by the Ottoman court.
“Why did this art form end up in so many other cultures,” pondered Walter Denny on Saturday as one of the symposium’s keynote speakers. He is a co-curator of the exhibit and a professor of art history and adjunct professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts. “There are many, many questions that remain to be answered. The exhibition itself has been a wonderful and important step in the never-ending quest for scholarship.”
Dr. Denny was the recipient last week of the museum’s 2012 George Hewitt Myers Award for lifetime achievement in the textile arts. Named after the museum’s founder, the Myers Award is recognized as the highest accolade in the field of textile arts.
The museum awarded GW students Kaitlyn Leaf and Yian Chen with symposium scholarships for their outstanding academic and potential contributions to the field of textile studies.
In addition to the new museum, the university will also construct a state-of-the-art conservation and resource center dedicated to the study and care of the museum’s historic collections on the GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Loudoun County, Va. In addition to The Textile Museum, the new museum will include the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and selections from the university’s art collections. The groundbreaking for the new museum will take place on Thursday.