Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection

Upcoming exhibitions

UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage | Feb 5 – Mar 15

A selection from Unpacked, suitcase hanging from wall containing 3D scene. Image courtesy of nelsonimaging.com.

A selection from Unpacked. Image courtesy of nelsonimaging.com.

UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage seeks to humanize the word “refugee.” This multimedia exhibit features the sculptures of Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian-born, Connecticut-based artist and architect who re-creates war-torn domestic interiors within suitcases, as well as interviews with the refugees who fled those exact homes conducted by Iraqi-born Wesleyan University student Ahmed Badr. Pieces from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection will be placed in dialogue with Hafez and Badr’s work to further explore themes of loss, protection, and family. Learn more.

Lace from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection | Apr 8 – Jun 12

Lace handkerchief, Unknown artist, Europe, 1870-1929. Gift from the Estate of Helen Louise Allen.

Lace handkerchief, Unknown artist, Europe, 1870-1929. Gift from the Estate of Helen Louise Allen.

Lace is the single largest category of objects in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. How do we make sense of this ubiquitous yet enigmatic material? From fine art on the wall to intimate garments on the body, lace surrounds us yet often goes unnoticed. This exhibition will investigate the complex historical, cultural, technical, and aesthetic histories of lace, changing the ways visitors understand this strong, delicate and beautiful material. Learn more.

Recent events

Teaching Textiles: The History of Craft Instruction

Blue-and-white-stitched detail from an early 19th-century German embroidery sampler in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.

Detail from an early 19th-century German embroidery sampler in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.

December 6 – 7, 2019 | Organized by Dr. Marina Moskowitz

Teaching Textiles: The History of Craft Instruction is a symposium at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, that will explore the nexus of skill, education, communication, enterprise, and collecting of textiles. Learn more.

Ruth Ketterer Harris Lecture: Henry Drewal

“Come to Your Senses! Understanding Arts Everywhere… and the Arts of Yoruba People in Particular”
Image: Dr. Henry Drewal dances with Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, at its African Art Awards event in October 2018.

Image: Dr. Henry Drewal dances with Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, at its African Art Awards event in October 2018.

November 13, 2019 | 5:30 – 8:00 PM

This presentation invites the audience to come to its “sense-abilities” in its engagements with the arts. People feel and think with their “body-mind,” an idea whose universal relevance Dr. Drewal explores by way of the arts of the Yoruba in West Africa. Learn more.

About the Collection

Over the past half century, the collection has grown from an original 4,000-piece gift to more than 13,000 objects that have inspired and informed thousands of students, researchers, historians, and textile aficionados. The new Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery is a permanent space dedicated to year-round displays of the collection.

HOURS

(Closed for installation)
Wed & Fri 10am-4pm
Thurs 10am-7pm
Sat-Sun 12-4pm


LOCATION

1300 Linden Drive,
Madison, WI 53706
Parking info


CONTACT

hlatc@sohe.wisc.edu
(608) 262-1162