Textile History in Augsburg

January 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Museums and Exhibitions | Leave a comment

Since last spring, there’s a brand new textile museum quite near to where I live, the Textil- und Industriemuseum (tim) in Augsburg. And on one of the last days of the old year, I had the opportunity to visit together with a few friends. We had a great time! After making our way there by train and tram, we found ourselves between run-down industrial buildings in obvious disrepair. There’s obviously no industrial production going on anymore, which always makes me a bit sad. But following the signs, we soon found ourselves standing here:

A new museum in an old industrial building, promising! We weren’t disappointed at all inside. If you’re interested in textile history, spending the whole day there isn’t a problem at all.

The main thread of the exhibition shows the production of textiles all the way from the raw material to the finished products. At the beginning you can look outside into a little garden with different plants that produce fiber and dyes for textiles. Inside, there’s the raw fibers to see and touch: cotton, silk and wool as well as artificial fibers. Then the different processes needed to make fabric from fiber are introduced: spinning followed by weaving and knitting. Lots of demonstrations and models as well as actual machines are on show. In a separate room, visible through a glass wall from the main exhibition room, there’s a series of weaving looms and knitting machines that are shown in action. The extra charge to take part in the demonstration is well worth it.

What is impressive and different from all the other textile museums I’ve seen recently is the fact that the history goes straight through to today. The newest looms and knitting machines on display are from 2009, making it possible to follow the development of technology right up to the present. One of the good things of being a brand new museum, I guess.

Back in the main exhibition, there are quite a few workstations with activities for small and big kids, which enable some hands-on experience: hand spindles, knitting spools, and later stamps for printing.

After lunch in the excellent café, we continued our round through the exhibition, this time starting with the presentation of the pattern books collected from the local factories specialising in fabric printing. What a wealth of information! In the final part of the main exhibition the fabric is dyed, printed, embellished, and finally sewn up into clothing.

Next to the main exhibition there’s a series of smaller rooms dealing with different aspects of the local textile history. Augsburg is the home of the famous Fugger family of tradesmen, who earnt their riches mostly from textiles. Recent history as the developments through both world wars and through the second half of the 20th century are also looked at.

All in all, there’s lots to see and do, and I’m pretty sure I still missed quite a few things in spite of spending almost all day there. I can heartily recommend a visit! To get an impression, visit the picture gallery on the museum’s website.

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