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Most historic textiles are made of organic fibers including wool, cotton, linen, and silk. Modern textiles are made of natural and synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester.

Preserving Textiles
Antique silk from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries must be handled very carefully.
The silk may be chemically unstable due to a process called "weighting." Metallic salts were added to the silk in order to add weight and body to the fabric because the fabric was sold by weight not length. The addition of the metallic salts accelerated the degradation of weighted silk leaving it brittle and fraying.

Textiles can be made using many different technologies such as weaving, knitting, and stitching. They can be decorated using embroidery, appliqué, beading, and dying.

Textiles objects include:

  • quilts
  • carpets
  • clothing
  • needlework
  • art

More Resources (pdf)
Dry Cleaning Historic Textiles

Dusting and Vacuuming
Rolling Textiles
Safe Plastics and Fabrics
Slant Boards for Quilts
Folding Textiles
Cleaning Organic Materials


Preservation Principles

Types of Material


Types of Objects
   Books / Bibles / Scrapbooks
   Works of Art
   Textiles / Clothing / Uniforms
   Tools / Mechanical / Instruments
   Dishes / Glassware / Silverware
   Native American Items
   Natural History Specimens

More Resources
   Preservation Documents  (pdfs)
   Glossary of Terms
   See what we've done

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