European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Meeting Fashion Heritage: Museo del Tessuto di Prato

crafttextile exhibitiontextile history

A new issue of MFH to introduce one of the most important centres for the preservation of textile heritage and new EFHA member: the Prato Textile Museum

Prato Textile Museum is Italy’s largest centre for the study, conservation and exhibition of historic and contemporary textiles. Researches, exhibitions, educational activities, conferences and other cultural initiatives to enhance and communicate textile heritage are the main actions of the Prato Textile Museums mission.

The museum is located in the Ex Cimatoria Campolmi factory, an important example of industrial archaeology of 8500 square meters, situated inside the medieval walls of the city of Prato. Its architectural development began in the 1860s and continued up to about 1950. The Campolmi complex started life as a fabric clipping mill, and over the decades expanded its production potential introducing all stages of textile finishing, including dyeing.  The factory ceased its activities as textile industry in 1994. In July 1999, the Municipal Administration acquired the entire complex The restoration work for the part destined to house the Museum began in December 1999 and was completed in 2002.

The first core of the Textile Museum was formed in 1975. Since then, the collections continued to grow and today comprise a heritage of international importance. Textile art is documented from pre-Christian times to our day, illustrating various manufacturing techniques, by a total of over 9000 items. The collections include ancient fragments, contemporary fabrics, clothing, accessories, sample books, textile instruments and machinery.

The Museum represents the historical memory and the cultural interface of the Prato manufacturing district, which has been identified with textile production since the Middle Ages. Today the district boasts over 6,000 companies operating in textile and clothing industry. The Museum networks with textile companies in order to archive and promote their products, know-how and technological innovations.

Researches, exhibitions, educational activities, conferences and cultural initiatives to promote and communicate textile heritage are the main actions of the Prato Textile Museum mission.

An important part of this mission focuses on all those activities that enhance European textile heritage as a source of inspiration for the contemporary industry of fashion, as an added value and quality of new brands and products. To reach this aim, the Museum participated to several European projects with an international partnership of textile and fashion museums, archives, design schools and universities and research centres.