With museums and archives around the world closed for the lockdown it can be hard to get your daily dose of culture. When you yearn to see beautiful objects where do you go? Technology can’t yet put a historic embroidery in your hands but it can transport you to the site where it is held. Through the miracle of the internet you can now experience museums all around the world. Here is our pick of the best places to virtually visit when you’re in need of something beautiful to stir and inspire your soul.
The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is an almost overwhelming multi sensory experience in the flesh. Row after row of vitrines are packed with anthropological oddities from all around the world. Online it still packs a massive punch and we think you’ll love virtually walking the aisles looking for the wonderful North American Indian textiles or ancient weaving machines.
The V&A is easily one of the greatest museums in the world with a vast archive to explore. The team at Hand & Lock are delighted that recent blockbuster exhibitions have increasingly focused on fashion with the likes of the McQueen and Dior shows, and are regular visitors to the bricks and mortar site as well as the online archive. Wherever you are in the world, you can view highlights from all their biggest shows and read some great articles, we recommend you start with Elsa Schiaparelli.
Ideal if you like the very latest design and craft creations by The Craft Council site includes work by contemporary craft practitioners in a variety of diverse fields. The opening of the Crafts Council’s new gallery has been postponed because of the lockdown, but you can still see some of its collection online, including the objects that were selected for its inaugural exhibition, Maker’s Eye, recent acquisitions and older works.
Hand & Lock’s central London atelier has been closed to the public since the start of the lockdown and our staff have all been safely working from home. Back in 2016 we commissioned a 360 degree photographic tour of the studio, so we can all revisit the studio from the safety of our homes. Look for the Victorian ledger in our military stockroom, check out a designer’s process in the design room, see what the embroiderers were working on in the work room and then meander into the red walled meeting room to see some amazing embroider samples.
The Textile Research Centre collection of textiles, clothing and accessories was started in 1997 with 43 pieces from Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria. Since then it has grown to over 26,000 pieces. They offer their amazing online collection for the seriously academic and the casually curious. Their easily searchable archive contains items that are rare and common, old and new; each with a descriptions and images. From factory woven machine printed Egyption head scarfs to dutch cutwork lace panels the TRC is a fantastic resource to explore textile use from all around the world.