Considered the leading collection of Canadian dress and the second most important collection of costume in Canada, this collection has grown since 1957 to contain some 18,900 items of dress and accessories. Among the plethora of women’s dresses, parasols, hats, fans and footwear are many marvels created by some of Montreal’s greatest 20th-century designers. The menswear in the collection includes suits, coats and accessories. Children’s dress is also well represented. Finally, there is an important group of embroidered samplers, quilts and other textiles, including North America’s oldest known patchwork quilt (1726).
The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, which opened in 2008, presents highlights from the ROM’s renowned collection of over 50,000 textile and costume artifacts, in a display of approximately 200 rotating pieces dating from the 1st millennium BC to the 21st century AD. Outstanding examples include Chinese imperial costume, late Antique and early Islamic textiles from Egypt, western fashion from the Baroque period to the present day and early Canadian coverlets. These illustrate the extensive transformations in textile design and technology throughout the past three millennia.
The Textile Museum of Canada is one of Toronto’s most engaging visual arts organizations. With more than 12,000 objects from more than 200 countries and regions, the TMC’s permanent collection celebrates cultural diversity and includes traditional fabrics, garments, carpets and related artifacts such as beadwork and basketry. The Museum offers a broad variety of exhibitions including themed shows based on our permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions of the work of Canadian and international artists.
The Museum celebrates the style and function of footwear in four galleries. Footwear on display ranges from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamourous platforms. Over 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th-century celebrity shoes are reflected in the semi-permanent exhibition, All About Shoes. Three other galleries feature changing exhibitions.
The Museum gallery was closed to the public in 2010 but continues to offer programs which make the collection available to the public, including pop-up exhibits, heritage fashion revues, hat shows and educational programs. Canada’s first museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of clothing and textiles, it reflects the identity and social history of Canadians urban and rural, public and private. The collection of 35,000 artifacts is stored in Winnipeg and includes men’s women’s and children’s clothing, accessories and miscellaneous accoutrements. One of the earliest artifacts is a blue and white silk taffeta dress with matching shoes circa 1765.
The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is located in the annex of the former Rosamond Woolen Company. Constructed in 1867, this National Historic Site of Canada features things related to the history of the Mississippi Valley and the textile industry. Exhibitions range from early mill history and period mill equipment to cottage industry and eclectic modern fibre art exhibitions. The museum combines traditional static and working displays of textile equipment and processes with activities and events focusing on the region’s heritage, culture and role of the textile industry in the development of Canada.