About the Collection

Mission

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection advances understanding of cultures and their history through engagement with textiles for the creative, technical, and educational benefit of scholars from the University and beyond.



The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is a teaching collection, with over 13,000 textile artifacts spanning 16 centuries and 108 countries. The nucleus of the Collection was a bequest from the estate of UW-Madison Home Economics Professor Helen Louise Allen. Professor Allen taught weaving, textile history, and the history of interiors from 1927 until her death in 1968. During her career, she traveled and amassed a broad collection of approximately 4000 textiles to support her teaching and research. A pioneer in her field, Professor Allen was an early adopter of historical and anthropological perspectives in the study of the textile arts. Her original vision to advance understanding of cultures and their history via the textile arts still remains at the heart of HLATC’s mission and continues to inspire future generations of artists and designers.