The oldest space within the entire architectural complex, this is a charming environment that lends itself well to enhancing the Museum’s historical textile collections. These are displayed on rotation, presenting new content from time to time. Therefore, presenting the public with many opportunities in which to deepen their understanding of the Museum’s various central collections. The room’s appeal is enhanced by the presence of macro video projections that create continuity between the exhibits and their historical and cultural context.
The familiarization area was created to introduce the visitor to the conscious use of the museum’s collections. Thanks to a gradual reading of the textile product, with a direct and easily understandable approach, the visitor can understand, appreciate and deepen his knowledge of the sector. The ability to touch some of the materials on display also ensures active participation. The path traced along the initial corridor presents the [[tesciao sile supply chain]], ie the production cycle of the fabric in its essential phases.
Historical room and the ancient collections
A large room with cross vaults on neo-Gothic pillars (1869) houses the historic section, with flexible layout, in large windows. Fragments from the geographical areas of ancient Peru (pre-Columbian fabrics) and from the burials of Christianized Egypt (Coptic fabrics) constitute the archaeological nucleus.
Very rich is the section that testifies the textile production of the XIV – XVIII centuries with fragments from Italy, Europe, the Middle and the Far East.
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries are represented by fabrics for clothing and furnishings, some of which by the author (Henry Moore, Giò Ponti, Raoul Dufy), dresses, embroidery, lace and trimmings, as well as important samples of the first factories in Prato.
Of great historical and anthropological interest are the ethnic fabrics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Central and South America. The fabrics are exhibited in particular and innovative mobile display cases that allow you to change the layout of the room according to the different contents of the exhibitions.
Each display case has a historical period and the fabrics are subject to periodic rotations. The set-up reflects the conservative criteria but at the same time enhances the fabrics emphasizing the artistic and technical aspects.
The exhibition is enriched by the projections of artistic and historical images to recreate the suggestions and atmosphere in which the fabrics were, over the centuries, designed, made and used.
The collections are classified as follows:
Ancient fabrics and sacred vestments. These are materials produced in Europe dating back to the early thirteenth century. until the twentieth century as evidence of the most important moments in the development of European manufacturing. The types are varied, there are figured fabrics, velvets, Perugia tablecloths, lampas and damasks.
Embroidered fabrics and articles. This collection consists of a range of embroideries made on packaged objects of Italian and European origin from the fifteenth to the twentieth century and a series of fragments from historical collections.
Ethnic fabrics and clothes. This collection is of great historical and anthropological value. The fabrics come from India, Indonesia and Yemen, Central and South America, China and Japan. This vastness of decorations and symbols testify to the value of textile art as a social communication tool.
Archaeological fabrics. This rare collection is made up of textile fragments found during excavations or burials. Generally belonging to the III-X century. AD, describe the Coptic and Colombian culture.
Prato samples. A collection of books / samples of historic Prato companies. The purpose of this collection is to document the evolution of Pratese taste and style from the late 1800s to the contemporary period.
Sketches and artist fabrics. These specimens are made by 1900 artists such as Raoul Dufy and Thayaht and by contemporary masters such as Giò Pomodoro and Bruno Munari. These have transformed the concept of fabric, making it an expressive form of their creativity.
Contemporary fabrics. This collection contains a selection of fabrics from 1976 and beyond. These products are considered important for technological innovation and expression of the fashion trends of the city of Prato.
Clothes and accessories. This section wants to testify the evolution of the costume from the 16th century until today. In particular, some models made with Prato fabrics for prestigious film productions are highlighted.
Machinery. This collection wants to show all those weaving preparation tools such as manual looms, fulling machines, beater machines,… of Italian manufacture or the result of local projects for Prato production.
Fashion sketches. This unique collection brings together around 1700 male and female figures from the main Italian and French magazines of the 19th century. The entire range can be consulted in the online catalog.
Italy Textile Museum
The Museo del Tessuto is the largest cultural centre in Italy dedicated to the promotion of historical and contemporary textile production and art. The Museum represents the historical memory and the cultural interface of the Prato district, which has been identified with textile production since the Middle Ages. Today the district boasts over 7,000 companies operating in this sector.
The Museum was founded in 1975 within the “Tullio Buzzi” Industrial Technical Textile Institute, as the result of an initial donation of approximately 600 historical textile fragments. These were added to examples which had been gathered over the years by the Institute’s professors for students to consult and study. Since then, the collection has seen a significant increase in size thanks to the contribution of the Buzzi Institute Alumni Association and other important civic institutions, such as the Municipality of Prato, Cariprato and the Pratese Industrial Union.
In 1997, the Museum was temporarily housed in the Palazzo Comunale. During this period, the collection of contemporary fabrics was established, which continues to increase with seasonal fashion trends thanks to the relationship with the PratoTrade Association, a selection of fashion textile manufacturing companies. In 2003, the inauguration of the permanent premises took place in the restored spaces of the former Campolmi factory, a precious jewel of industrial archaeology situated within the old city walls.
Since 2012, the Museum has been granted the status of “museum of regional importance” pursuant to Art. 20 and 21 of Regional Law no. 21 of February 25th, 2010.