The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University has a distinguished history in collecting the materials related to unions, with particular strengths in the area of textile and garment manufacturing. It was fitting, therefore, that when the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) closed its doors in 2016, the Kheel Center acquired the bulk of the library and archives as well as many fabric samples. This article explores the ATHM’s mission to tell “America’s story through the art, science, and history of textiles” and how by bringing these collections to Cornell we can expand that story. Today, the global textile and garment industries employ an estimated forty to eighty million people, yet very few Americans understand the impact that it has on the lives of the people who make their clothes and on the earth’s fragile ecosystem. By combining emerging technology with expanding collecting areas and engaging new audiences with these incredible foundational materials, the Kheel Center can build more representative and discoverable collections upon ATHM’s enduring legacy.


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pp. 12-29
Launched on MUSE
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