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Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Textile Diplomacy

Afternoon Course

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0342
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Julia Brennan and master batik makers review a historic batik reproduction owned by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta

Join curator Elizabeth Lay, a regular lecturer on the topics of fashion, textiles, and American furniture, for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on decorative arts and design topics.

Session Information

Textile Diplomacy

At its core, textile conservation as cultural diplomacy is about cultivating and honoring people and heritage, acknowledging how our global cultural heritage strengthens identities, security, and respect for others. For more than two decades, textile conservationist Julia M. Brennan has built cultural bridges by engaging in both high-profile and grassroots projects to help set up conservation labs, train local specialists, and preserve local and regional textile heritage—both its artifacts and traditions. In the course of those projects, she worked with collaborators including ministries of culture, royal courts, monks, genocide survivors, and young students.

In her wide-ranging presentation, Brennan covers Herthe treatment and mannequin-building for a display of court garb worn by 18th- and 19th-century American diplomats to France; the preparation and installation of the U.S. Embassy exhibition Great and Good Friends at the Royal Palace in Bangkok; the training of Indonesian colleagues in methods to clean and restore a collection of batiks housed at the American Embassy in Jakarta (“batik diplomacy” at its core); and building a multi-year project to conserve and display W.E.B. DuBois’s academic robes and prized textiles for Ghana’s Centre for Pan African Culture in Accra.

Other Sessions in this Series

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