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The very beginnings of the collection of decorative fabrics of the Central Museum of Textiles are related to the Department of Weaving, created at the Museum of Art in Łódź in early 1952. It constituted a predecessor of a separate museum, which was established in 1960. The collection incorporates textiles from various eras, through having commenced from Coptic fabrics originating from the 5th century A.D. to this day, by representing multiple geographical regions. It is divided into three compositions: antique fabric, contemporary fabric and documentation. To a particularly broad and representative extent includes Polish fabric. It illustrates the richness and diversity of textile-related art. The collection of antique fabric, covering over 1,900 objects, shall consists of fabrics made with handicraft techniques, created by the end of the 18th century in the East and Europe, and having represented weaving which reaches the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, decorative fabrics designed for interiors and clothing, including mechanized manufacture products. The collection of contemporary either artistic, Polish and foreign fabrics consists of over 2400 objects. Both compositions are complemented by a documentation composition that includes, among others, fabric designs.
The collection of clothing of the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz has been created since 1975 and nowadays it concentrates over 4.1 thousand exhibits. It is one of the largest collections, the core of which are objects representing fashion and its accessories dating back mainly to the 20th century, although the oldest ones are dated to the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection has developed over the years thanks to the generosity of the donors, who often saw in the museum the only chance to save the items donated. The collection consists of women's and men's clothing, representative for given decades, both daytime and evening toilets, as well as unique clothing in single pieces, created by visual artists or fashion laboratories operating at large industrial plants. Apart from clothes, a very large group of clothes are complemented by fashion accessories. One of the youngest, expanding collection is the one dedicated to children's fashion. Noteworthy is the collection of clothing documentation, which includes such objects as: original clothing designs, drawings, drawings, charts, magazines, photographs collected in albums or thematic bands, clothing documentation and catalogues. The exhibits that make up the clothing collection are characterized by great diversity, which makes them all perfectly complementary, creating a faithful image of past years, which largely protects them from oblivion.
The collection of folk fabric currently has 2863 inventory items (over 4,000 items). These are primarily different types of fabrics and clothing in their regional varieties, constituting documentary material allowing to get to know such issues as: folk textile raw materials, fabric structure and their technique, types of ornamentation, as well as folk embroidery and lace techniques The most numerous are objects from the area – the closest to Łódź – central (Lowicz, Opoczyński, Piotrków, Rawa and Sieradz), as well as eastern and north-eastern Poland. An interesting collection is formed by fabrics originating from the area of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – the multiethnic eastern borderlands. The collected exhibits come from the period from the late nineteenth century to modern years. The majority of the collections are fragments of clothing and decorative fabrics, laces and embroideries. Among them, the team of over 400 embroidery from the area of Polesie, giving the impression of needle embroidery, deserves attention, but made using a weaving technique – interweaving (peretyk) or dressing (perebora), including extremely rare black embroideries. A quite large group is formed by wool and linen-wool fabrics for decorative and utility purposes, used to cover beds, less often for hanging on the wall, with the design of stripes (pasiaki) or grids (kraciaki). These fabrics, called kilims or carpets, are considered the most traditional and typical for Polish folk weaving. The collection also includes a fairly large collection of linen and linen-cotton bedding fabrics, tablecloths and towels. A separate collector's theme is folk fabric with an extensive artistic program implemented by hand – rugs, harness and double-basis fabrics. A small but interesting and colorful collection consists of fabrics, ritual accessories and elements of eastern, African, Central and South American costumes. The collections are consciously narrowly specialized and mainly concern objects that are interesting as examples of traditional folk weaving from Poland.
Open-air Museum of Łódź Wooden Architecture
The collection of the Open-Air Museum of Łódź Wooden Architecture is young, it is just being created. The collections focus on the material culture of the inhabitants of Łódź, with particular emphasis on the heritage related to the working culture of city hybrid residents. The vast majority of exhibits come from the interwar period, although there are also those from the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX century. The range of collections is extensive – from ordinary items, such as those necessary in the kitchen: kitchen utensils and cutlery or utensils used to prepare meals, elements used exclusively for interior decoration – porcelain and plaster figurines, napkins, embroidered tablecloths or tapestries, which were so typical in Łódź houses, popular till 70s of the XX century. A large group consists of furniture – among them typical, pre-war kitchen cupboards and modest cabinets, as well as those specially ordered, made to order in a set: two oak beds, a wardrobe and a pier glass. The collection of the open-air museum also includes poorer furniture – a metal bed, a cot and a pre-war straw mattress and a wooden stool, or so-called ryczka. A separate group of furniture consists of boxes: coal hoppers and boxes for storing, for example, potatoes. In the group of exhibits intended for the hygiene, there are so-called waterworks, a sink with a shelf for towels, placed in kitchens, an enameled bidet, a shelf with containers for cleaning products, various sizes of buckets and bowls and a group of items related to laundry, such as tubs, tare etc. Some of the exhibits, for example, a gorget with Our Lady of Piekar testify close relationships between the inhabitants of Łódź and Silesia. However, when collecting collections, we pay special attention to items with Łódź provenance. They include products created at craft workshops in Łódź or created by Łódź residents themselves, such as an alarm clock from the J. Placek jewelry store at Brzezińska str., 10 or household utensils made of wire and hand-made curtains, drapes and bedspreads or embroidered tablecloths and napkins embroidered in Łódź houses or embroidery workshops. Among the collected objects, a large group consists of exhibits used to decorate kitchens in Łódź, such as canvas tapestries, decorative items hung on kitchen shelves, and various pockets for storing homemade trinkets – brushes, matches, etc.
History of textile industry
The collection of souvenirs for the history of textile industry has been collected since the museum's existence; currently it consists of about three thousand exhibits. In terms of geography, objects referring to the area of present and past borders of the Polish state are gathered in it, but the presence of those that refer to the history of the Łódź industrial district is strongly marked. The chronological scope is not strictly defined, in practice, however, only individual exhibits date back to the pre-industrial era, and above all the Old Polish times, and also a small number of them were created after the economic transformation, which took place in Poland due to the collapse of the communist regime, objects could be closed in the period from 1820 till 1989 (or even 1860-1989). Due to the subject matter and the more problematic nature of this collection, it is very diverse internally. The museum exhibits may include everything which documents the past of textile industry in Poland, regardless of the physical form. However, it is possible to distinguish several types of objects, which are more numerous and carefully collected, are distinguished in informal sub-collections: vexilological (flags and banners), numismatic (medals and plaques), phaleristic (state and company decorations), documents (including employee documents), securities, advertising and iconography, dividing, among others, into collections of postcards and photographs. The reproductions of objects from the collection of the historical museum often appear in publications concerning the history of Łódź.
The collection of textile techniques in the structure of the Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź has existed since the Museum was founded, i.e. since 1960. The basic direction of collecting the museum collections are tools and textile machines, used in the Łódź region. The basic framework of the harvest is, therefore, related to the development of industry and its specific character in Łódź, and therefore, above all, with the processing of cotton in the second half of the XIX century and the entire next century. The collection facilities include less than 800 inventory items, but among them there are often multi-element teams, consisting even of dozens of items. The Section's collections are divided into sub-collections, the main ones are spinning, weaving, knitting, finishing, textile metrology, tools of weavers' artists, tailoring and various other items The collections contain exhibits related to folk and hand-made textiles, such as a bib and a manual loom, but also machines used for many years in the industry: looms, spinning machines, carding machines. These are the largest collections of this type in Poland, often rare, because only one object is retained, such as a loom from the Moritz Bauer company from 1910, or a self-spinner cart, manufactured Wiede company in 1866, a wooden carding machine from about 1850 manufactured by Platt company. The collections include sets of professional tools for making blocks for printing textiles. There is also a rich collection of hand and partly mechanized print blocks. The collection of textile metrology instruments is certainly unique; they include extremely rare items, used in research and development institutes to study the physical and chemical properties of fibers. The collection is complemented by facilities related to fiber processing in households – washing machines, irons and sewing machines.
The beginnings of the Industrial Fabric Collection date back to 1952. This year the Department of Weaving was established as part of the Museum of Art in Łódź. Its first acquisitions were samplers, fragments and models of sidewalks, doormats and sunbed fabrics from the early XX century. The number of the items increased as time went by. All of them were taken over by the Museum of Textile History created in 1960 (since 1975 it has been called the Central Museum of Textiles). Objects from today's Collection of Industrial Textiles are in the Section of Textile History. Since 1966 the place of their storage is the Storehouse of Catalogs and Samples. In 1975 the Industrial Textiles Section was established, which took over all the objects located in this storehouse. In 1977-1986 the collection was temporarily subordinated to the Section of Textiles and Clothing. In 2017 the Industrial Fabric Department was merged with two others – the History of Textiles and Textile Techniques. The Department of Textile Industry was created as a result of this merger. The Industrial Fabric Collection includes, first of all, samplers, trade and factory catalogs, fabrics, ready-made products, designs, patterns of fabrics and knitwear, photographs of fabrics, factory book patterns, threads, yarn, fabrics and advertising-occasional products, textile technical products. These are the items manufactured in an industrial manner, but also for industry or people associated with the industry. One of the exceptions to this rule is a collection of student works from the State Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. There are items made of various raw materials, including cotton, wool, linen, silk, artificial and synthetic fibers. The exhibits come mainly from the XIX-XX centuries and were created both in Poland and abroad. In total, it is much more than 150000 objects inventoried as 6282 inventory items (as of 30 July 2018). It is currently the largest collection of high-volume fabrics in Poland and one of the largest in the world. As a part of the collection, there are two sub-collections: 1) Fabrics and samplers; 2) Documentation.
The collection of the Archive contains various archival exhibits related to the history of textile industry. Among them one can see archive items regarding the Artists’ Cooperative “ŁAD”, the artists – professors Lucjan Kintopf, Halina Karpińska-Kintopf, Lena Kowalewicz-Wegner. One of the many archival jewels of the museum is the philatelic collection “Textiles on postage stamps of the world”, collected by engineer Fryderyk Wiejski. The materials illustrating the operations of the Central Experimental Silk Station in Milanówek are particularly valuable. One of the most interesting rare documents is also an unusual set of archive papers documenting the activity of the Experimental Laboratory and the Association for the Exploitation of Patents of Polish Substitute Fibers conducted in Łódź by Jan Kubicki. The extensive collection of materials documenting the “Art Stilon” Open-Air Weaving workshops in Lubniewice held in the period from 1977 till 2005, is of exceptional archival value. One of the most interesting is also the successively enlarged set of archive items related to textile production teaching, including curriculum projects, mainly from the first half of the twentieth century, by Herbert Willner, Mieczysław Krawczyk, Stefan Kunce, Henryk Szrajber, Janusz Szosland, and Józef Florczak. The collection also reflects the teaching of tailoring – these are notebooks, among others, by Zofia Urbanowicz, Janina Szub, Janina Just, Krystyna Krasnodębska, Zofia Mania. The manuscripts of Krystyna Kondratiuk – the founder and first director of the Museum concerning, among others, participation of Polish artists in the 1st International Textile Biennale in Lausanne in 1962 and the idea of organizing the first Polish Contemporary Artistic Text Festival in Łódź, which was implemented as an International Textile Triennial organized by our institution. The collection also has a large collection of medals awarded to participants – the winners of subsequent editions of this important event.
Library collections cover over a dozen thematic sections, the most important of them include: cloth section, history of textile techniques, history of textile industry, costume science section, section of Łódź history, rare manuscripts, and a section of exhibition catalogues. The fabric section includes old and newer literature about antique and contemporary fabric. There are, among others, studies about the history of Polish, Western European and Oriental fabrics, as well as numerous other prints. The section of textile technique history collects publications related to complex issues of production techniques; among them a set of catalogs of textile machines and tools occupies a special place. In the section of the history of the textile industry one can find a variety of literature discussing the history of Polish and world textile, including general studies, monographs of textile plants and textile manufacturing towns. The section of costume science may be of particular interest to those who are looking for literature related to fashion issues – from ancient to modern times. There are numerous, general and detailed studies on the history of fashion and fashion accessories in Poland and around the world, catalogs of clothing exhibitions, catalogs issued by clothing companies and old calendars and guidebooks for women. The section of Łódź history consists mainly of publications about the history of Łódź and the region, satellite towns connected with textile industry, published historical sources. The collection of rare documents consists of rare prints, largely related to textiles, among them many antique books and unique materials. One of the most important parts of the collection is the exhibition catalogs section, which collects exhibition catalogs of individual artists operating in the field of fiber art, catalogs of collective exhibitions and catalogs of collective periodical exhibitions, including exhibitions of international significance. Extensive departments also create literature on ethnography, art, artistic craft, history, economy and museology. In the library there is also a collection of various magazines in large part related to textile issues (Polish and foreign titles of artistic and technical nature), magazines in Łódź, “feminine” magazines, mainly from the first half of the XX century and many more.