The new Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery provides a space dedicated to year-round, rotating displays of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, making the collection even more accessible to the public. The opening of the gallery on January 27 2019 launched a yearlong anniversary celebration. For 50 years, this nationally-known collection has inspired and informed thousands of students, researchers, historians, and textile aficionados.
The new gallery was made possible through generous donor support. Their philanthropy advances Professor Allen’s life work of promoting the knowledge and understanding of cultures through engagement with textiles and other material artifacts.
In 1968, UW-Madison faculty member and textile researcher, Professor Allen, donated her personal collection to the university. These original 4,000 pieces were acquired through her lifetime of national and global travel.
Over the past half century, the collection has grown to more than 13,000 objects, making it one of the nation’s largest textile collections of its kind. It is maintained and managed by the School of Human Ecology in a state-of-the-art storage vault, thousands of pieces from the collection are available for public study, loaned to outside exhibitions, and more than 9,000 objects are viewable online through an online, digital collection.