During this past ARLIS Conference in Seattle, a few of us from the FTC SIG had the pleasure of visiting the Henry Art Gallery. Benjamin Levy, Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs, met us and gave us a brief history of the Henry Gallery itself before turning us over to Judy Sourakli, Curator of Collections for an in-depth introduction to the Costume and Textile Collection. The collection spans a range of cultures including European, Asian, Central American and Middle Eastern, and dates from 1500 BCE to the present. We learned about how the collection was developed, starting with its origins at the University of Washington through to today when decades of careful curation and indexing feed into the Henry’s searchable online database. As an extension of this, The Henry also provides an Embroidery Stitch Identification Guide, a terrific resource for both craftspeople and textile historians.
The background information provided a sense of context for the end of our visit, where we got to look at a few items from the collection in person. It was really exciting to see the attention to detail that went into these pieces, and the care with which they’re being preserved for further scholarship.
Check out a few photos from our visit in the slideshow below.
Thanks to Ben and Judy for their warmth and generosity during our visit!