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Textile Conservation

Major projects of the Department of Textile Conservation include the conservation of the collections' highlights, among which have been: the Christ is Born as Man's Redeemer Tapestry and the Unicorn Tapestry series (The Cloisters collection); the Courtiers in a Rose Garden Tapestry series (Medieval Art collection); the Louis XIV hangings and The Gathering of Manna Tapestry (European Sculpture and Decorative Arts collection); the Emperor's Carpet (Islamic Art collection); and the Yuan Dynasty Mandala Tapestry (Asian Art collection).

Through the Museum's exhibition program, the conservators are responsible for the preparation and handling of textiles for exhibitions, among them: Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era; China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200–750 A.D.; Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence; Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor; Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557); English Embroidery from The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1580–1700: 'Twixt Art and Nature; and the preparatory work for the reopening of the Museum's galleries for the Arts of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. The department has the long-term commitment to participate in the Museum excavation program in Egypt. Sharing their expertise through teaching, lecturing, and publishing is an ongoing activity of the department's conservators.

In the future, the Department of Textile Conservation's priorities will continue to be determined by the Museum's mission to preserve, study, and conserve its textile collections, as well as to share it with the public through exhibitions, publications, and electronic media.

Restoring tapestries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1928. Photo provided by Paul Caro; from the MMA’s Stills from the Office of Cinema Works Behind the Scenes Film

The Department of Textile Conservation's staff members are discussing the conservation progress of the Courtier in the Rose Garden Tapestry. Acc. no. 09.137.1, Medieval Art collection. Photograph by Department of Textile Conservation.

The Department is performing work in preparation for the new Islamic galleries. Conservators and curators are discussing textile display methods. Photograph by Kathrin Colburn.

Conservators and technicians are performing work in preparation for the new Islamic galleries. Photograph by Kisook Suh.

The conservators are dyeing yarn for tapestry conservation. Photograph by Florica Zaharia.

The conservators and art handlers are installing mounted textiles in the Museum's galleries. Photograph by Florica Zaharia.

The Department of Textile Conservation’s conservator is participating in the Museum’s excavation program in Egypt. Photograph by Christine Marshall.

Kate Lefferts and Pat Staunton with X-ray machine, 1968

Learn more about the Textile Conservation Department.

Textile Conservation Staff

See a publication and film bibliography for current staff.