Friday, December 30, 2016

The gift from the American Textile History Museum.

Sometime around the end of the summer the school received an email from Karen Herbaugh, curator at the American Textile History Museum, telling us of the museum's closing and the consequent need to divest itself of their vast collection. They were contacting us, since it was known that the school had recently become a non-profit institution,  and we were now eligible to receive some of their de-accessioned equipment. This news was greeted by our staff and Board of Directors with both awe and sadness as this museum was a landmark in the history of textile technology and their collection one of the finest. Once we agreed to this proposal there was much work to do and Kate immediately began construction on a section of her barn where the bulk of the equipment would be stored until it was needed for classes at the school. Once the site was ready, we began the first of three trips down to Lowell with an amazing crew of volunteers and their vehicles. For the first two trips we rented a 26' UHaul - driven by Jim Colgan, truck driver extraordinare - and had the loan of many other small truck and cars. Special thanks for all of their help go to Linda and Jeff Gabrielson, Patty Lewis, Alan Castonguay, Nelly Detra, Elena Hovey, Robert Almodovar, Lauren Walker, Brittany Lewis, Sue Carpenter, Ellie Blachly, Heidi Beilenberg, Justin Squizzero, Craig Evans, Norman Kennedy, Kate Smith, Dosia Sanford, and Elkin! Now that some of the equipment is here we are looking forward to sharing some of these treasures with our students via a set of new classes. We feel a great responsibility to keep these artifacts safe and sound but to also use them in the manner that they were intended and to allow them to be seen and used by many!
The museum was housed in an old mill building in Lowell, MA.

Museum Entrance.

New Storage Area in Kate's Barn.
The trucks arrive at Dracut Storage.
The storage area in Dracut.
Sue and Brittany moving a loom.
Al getting ready to dismantle one of the looms.
Sue loading the box of spinning wheels.
Al, Sue and Jim unloading one of the barn looms.
Some of the new barn looms in Kate's barn.
Lunch in one of the museums conference rooms.
Norman in the storage area at the museum.
Our hero, Jim Colgan.
Elkin, Ellie and Alan unloading the last barn loom.
Pizza for the tired crew!
Some of the treasures.....
Three double handed spinning wheels.
An incredibly carved tenterhook and a signed and dated rigid heddle.
An iron holder for teasles to raise the nap of wool cloth.


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  2. What an amazing collection! So glad you could save and store and eventually use it. From the distance of Australia such a heritage is so special. I hope one day to come and spin on some of those wheels and weave on some of those looms. Well done from Margaret in the wilds of NSW.