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ATHM becomes Smithsonian affiliate

Industry News | December 1, 2009 | By:

When the American Textile History Museum (ATHM), Lowell, Mass., reopened its doors to the public this summer, it was with a major triumph: an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian Affiliations program allows selected organizations to have greater access to the collections and educational resources of the museums, libraries and research centers in the Smithsonian network.

“The affiliation between the American Textile History Museum and the Smithsonian Institution is a fantastic opportunity for the museum, our visitors and our community,” said Jim Coleman, ATHM president and CEO. “Gaining greater access to some of the Smithsonian’s most extraordinary collections will be a wonderful asset as we develop engaging programming and exhibitions in the years ahead.”

Established in 1996, the Smithsonian Affiliations Program has built partnerships with more than 160 museums, educational and cultural organizations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Panama and Puerto Rico. The program allows affiliates to obtain long-term loans from the Smithsonian’s collections and fosters resource sharing, educational initiatives, scholarly exchange and research efforts. Affiliate organizations are selected for their high quality of exhibitions, scholarship, and museum educational programs. The American Textile History Museum is one of only six Smithsonian affiliates in New England, including the Lowell National Historical Park.

“For more than four decades, the American Textile History Museum has been educating the public about America’s first great industry,” said Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations. “In its new configuration, the museum will offer an exciting range of experiences that speak to both the history of textiles and the artistry of their creators.”

Currently, the ATHM has an ongoing exhibit entitled “Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time,” demonstrating how textiles have changed, and continue to change, important aspects of our society and our world. From October 23 through March 14, 2010, there will also be an exhibit on “Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art.”

ATHM members now also have the opportunity to become members of the Smithsonian at a reduced rate.

For a complete list of other current and upcoming exhibitions, as well as general information about the museum and its affiliation with the Smithsonian, visit

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