The Textile Museum, Who Knew?

I admit that there are many places around the metro-DC area that I have not fully explored. I’m not proud of that fact, because you would think that after almost three years in the area, someone like me would have wrung this place dry of secret cubby holes and hidden gems. Alas, I still have much to see, but I’m lucky to have a group of girlfriends who want to see it all with me. Cue Thursday night.

Apparently, there is a beautiful old house tucked away on a quiet embassy street in Dupont that calls itself “The Textile Museum.” At the Textile Museum, you will find exhibits on well, textile-y stuff. And with all due respect to rugs and patterns and other textile art, I am really not all that interested. However, there is some history to the home where these ancient garbs and designs are showcased, and every year this treasure of a museum opens its doors for a “staycation” event in the backyard gardens. This year’s theme: Southeast Asia.

It's really not a "staycation" without tiny umbrellas
It’s really not a “staycation” without tiny umbrellas

For the price of the ticket, you receive a drink voucher and access to the perfectly manicured lawn in the back, where I’m told that many DC weddings take place in perfect fairytale fashion. Last night we were serenaded by Southeast Asian music and entertained by scantily-clad dancers. An Indonesian food truck was on site to provide delicious-looking meals of the proper ethnic variety. We had pastel umbrellas in our drinks. We sat and admired the night. It was lovely.

On the way out, I did ask one of the museum staff members to give me more information about the place. Who was the lucky owner of such a lovely “mansion” in Dupont? Does he have heirs? (Just kidding. But seriously, does he?) The answer is that the house was owned by a man named George Hewitt Myers who founded the museum in 1925 with his own collection and appreciation of the textile arts. The museum started with 275 rugs and 60 other related textiles. Mr. Myers continued to collect for his museum until his death in 1957, when he had acquired 500 rugs and 3,500 other types of textiles. Today, the museum holds more than 19,000 objects that span 5,000 years. The house was built in 1912, and it is currently on the market. When it sells, the Textile Museum will move to a location somewhere on the GW Foggy Bottom campus.

OK, so what is a textile? I have no idea. If you want more information on different types of textiles, the museum has provided a link to some terms to know. You can find that fact sheet here.

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