New Mexico History Museum

Preserving Your Family’s Heirloom Textiles

November 20, 2009


Santa Fe (Nov. 12, 2009) – Worried about how well you’re safeguarding that family finery tucked into a closet or stuffed into a cedar chest? Learn how professionals care for heirloom textiles at a workshop in the New Mexico History Museum classroom from 2-4 pm on Saturday, Jan. 16. The Museum is at 113 Lincoln Avenue in downtown Santa Fe.


The workshop costs $12, which includes a special 1:30 pm tour of the Fashioning New Mexico exhibit in the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Changing Exhibitions Gallery. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call Inessa Williams at (505) 476-5106. Payment will be taken at the workshop; cash or checks only.


Learn from Textile Conservator Rebecca Tinkham of the Museum of New Mexico’s Conservation Department, and Pennie McBride, assistant collections manager for the History Museum. Topics include warding off the pests, light, heat, humidity and dust that can damage costumes, uniforms, accessories, weavings and more.


"There are some very simple steps that can be taken at home to help people preserve their textiles for years to come," Tinkham said.


She and McBride worked extensively with the clothing now on display in Fashioning New Mexico. The work involved everything from de-bugging long-stored garments to repairing rips and planning ways to properly store the finished products. Fashioning, open through April 14, 2010, cuts a swath across 150 years of New Mexico costumes and clothing – from weddings to operas, fiestas to inaugurations, baptisms to an ooh-la-la interactive exhibit on underwear.


With the opening of the History Museum, the collections staff had an unprecedented opportunity to upgrade its textiles storage to state-of-the-art, museum-quality conditions.


“Caring for your clothes requires more than knowing which wash cycle to use,” McBride said. “Your clothing spends more time in the closet than on you, so why not learn how to create your own padded hangers for support, or a cover to protect against light and dust?”


The New Mexico History Museum is the newest addition to a campus that includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States; Fray Angélico Chávez History Library; Palace of the Governors Photo Archives; the Press at the Palace of the Governors; and the Native American Artisans Program. The New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit


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