Home / Conservation / Textiles



photo of textiles conservator at work The Textile Conservation Lab at the Minnesota Historical Society cares for the collection, prepares artifacts for exhibition, and assists in the documentation of Minnesota history by studying how items were manufactured and used. The Society has a large textile collection, including archaeological artifacts, Native American items, quilts, coverlets, rugs, costumes, flags, upholstery and soft furnishings. Different types of textiles and composite objects are treated in the textile lab, requiring skills in many different areas.

Common treatments within the textile lab include surface cleaning, wet cleaning, consolidation, mounting for exhibition, and housing for long-term storage. The textile lab is equipped with tools such as a specialized HEPA Vacuum that allows the conservator to adjust the suction flow down to a very low level. The lab has a large wet cleaning area with deionized water providing an ergonomic station for cleaning items like rugs, quilts, and sometimes costumes with safe water. Other features include adjustable ventilation systems, suction tables for use with water or solvents, and excellent lighting. The textile lab works to maintain the collection for future exhibition, documentation, and study.


These topics reflect common questions received by the Minnesota Historical Society. Some have previously appeared as articles in Tech Talk. New subjects and links will be added as they are developed.