Collections outside the UK

Below is a selection (in progress) of dress/textiles/furnishings collections outside the UK.

NOTE: Collections with online databases are listed both here, and under the ONLINE DATABASES page.

Countries represented: 




Textiles & Costume:

The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume is a spacious new gallery that presents the Museum’s rich and diverse collection of 50,000 textile and costume artifacts through a rotating display of about 200 pieces dating from the 1st century BC to the 21st century AD.

The Textile Museum of Canada’s permanent collection contains more than 12,000 artifacts and spans almost 2,000 years and 200 world regions.

An online searchable collections database is available on the Home Page of the website.


  • The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum
  • Museum of Decorative Arts (Det Danske Kunstindustrimuseum), Copenhagen – rugs, tapestries, textiles jewelry, Asian folk textiles; Chinese, Indian, Indonesian collections;
  • Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aalborg – contemporary textiles;
  • Esbjerg Museum, Esbjerg – costume, embroidery;
  • Herning Museum, Herning – knitting;
  • Textile Forum Museum, Herning – textile industry, costume, textiles;
  • Stenstrup Museum, Højby – costume.



Espoo City museum’s artefact collections cover the various aspects of life, from the mundane to the festive. The collections include furniture, crockery, fabrics, machinery and tools. They focus in particular on the output of Espoo’s industrial enterprises, such as the Kauklahti glassworks. The collections comprise almost 42,000 artefacts.

Object, Art, Photograph and Archive collections

Helsinki City Museum’s Object, Art, Photograph and Archive collections record the life of the city of Helsinki and its residents. Modern objects, art, photographs and archive material representing important major phenomena in the spiritual and material heritage are constantly being added to the collections. The Museum seeks to bequeath to future generations an adequate sample of material showing the development of living conditions in Helsinki.

Collections and Archives:

The National Museum of Finland presents Finnish life from prehistoric times to the present. The permanent exhibition is divided into six departments. The Treasure Troves present the museum’s collections of coins, medals, orders, decorations, silver and weapons. The Prehistory of Finland is Finland’s largest archaeological exhibition. The Realm tells of the history of Finnish culture and society from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century. A Land and Its People presents rural life in Finland before industrialisation.


The museum is a specialized museum for handicraft covering entire Finland. The museum covers all techniques of handicraft, from house building to lace making and from forging to the design of ornaments. A centre for national costumes and a centre well versed in the conservation of textiles form part of the museum.

The collections of the museum now consist of 17 000 objects. The basic collection is made up of the old surviving collections that have been moved to Jyväskylä. The museum’s reference library consists of more than 5000 publications on handicraft, the craft industry and just about everything made by hand. The collection of the library also includes Finnish and foreign magazines. Most of the material is in Finnish.

Old Finnish collection – there are 3075 catalogued objects in the collection assembled between 1906 and 1945. The majority are textiles, such as pieces of cloth, ribbons and various tablecloths. The collection also includes a number of wickerwork items, such as baskets and dishes and boxes made of birchbark. The majority of the wooden objects are boxes, dishes, various household objects and scale models.

Porvoo Museum is both a historical museum and an art museum. The two buildings in which it is housed date from the 1760s and stand on the edge of the square beside the Old Town Hall in the heart of the oldest part of Porvoo.

The items in the Porvoo Museum collection are mainly 18th- and 19th-century objects and textiles connected with the local civic culture as well as peasant artefacts from the surrounding district.


This website is available in both German and English versions. The museum collects examples of leatherwork and shoes from across the world. The collection includes examples of footwear of spanning four millennia, and examples of crafts and design from the Middle Ages to the present, with the focus on leather.


The Western European Applied Art collections include jewellery, furniture, and textiles. There is a small collection of Renaissance jewellery, and an extensive collection of 18th century jewellery, from various Western European countries. The collection of Western European furniture consists of some 1,000 objects made in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and England, dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The Hermitage collection of some 5,000 textiles reflects the development of Western European weaving from the medieval period to the early 20th century. The earliest items are fragments of Italian and Spanish patterned silks and linens from Perugia dating from the 13th to 14th centuries. Remarkable 15th and 16th century ecclesiastical vestments from various Italian cities demonstrate the heights reached by silk weaving during the Renaissance. The collection of Western European Tapestries ranges in date from the 15th to the 19th century.

An online searchable collections database is available:



In December 1961, Werner and Margaret Abegg, private collectors of long standing, established the Abegg Foundation. The Abegg Foundation collects and undertakes research into historic textiles from the early days to around 1800, primarily focusing on textiles from the European and Mediterranean areas. The textiles on display are placed within their historic and artistic context.


The Costume Institute houses a collection of more than thirty thousand costumes and accessories spanning five continents and as many centuries.

Antonio Ratti Textile Center:

Previously dispersed among the various curatorial departments according to the cultures that produced them, most of the Museum’s textile holdings are now gathered in the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. The textile collection includes examples from all of the world’s civilizations and from almost every period in history. Among the 35,000 pieces are archaeological fragments, tapestries, carpets, quilts, ecclesiastical vestments, silks, embroideries, laces, velvets, and more, dating from 3000 BC to the present.

European Sculpture and Decorative Arts:

The 50,000 objects in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts reflect the development of a number of art forms in the major Western European countries from the early fifteenth through the early twentieth century. The department’s holdings cover the following areas: sculpture in many sizes and media, woodwork and furniture, ceramics and glass, metalwork and jewelry, horological and mathematical instruments, and tapestries and textiles.

Arms and Armor:

The collection of armor, edged weapons, and firearms in consists of approximately 15,000 objects that range in date from about 400 BC to the nineteenth century. Western Europe and Japan are the regions most strongly represented. The focus is on outstanding craftsmanship and decoration—that is, items often intended solely for display rather than for actual use, from minute ornamental sword fittings to full suits of armor.

Online searchable collections database (all departments):

The permanent collection of the Museum at FIT currently includes more than 50,000 garments and accessories, dating from the eighteenth century to the present, with particular strength in modern and contemporary women’s fashion. The accessories collection consists of approximately 15,000 objects that date from the mid-17th century to the present day. Among the 15,000 accessories there are more than 4,000 pairs of shoes. There are also 30,000 textiles, dating from the fifth century to the present.

The MFIT Online Collection presents images and descriptions of 350 of the objects in the museum’s holdings of historic and contemporary fashion and textiles:

Textile and Fashion Arts:

Art of Europe:

The MFA’s Textile and Fashion Arts Collection originated when Boston was the center of the US textile industry. Today the Museum owns more than 27,000 objects ranging from American needlepoint to European tapestries, Middle Eastern rugs, African kente cloths, and haute couture fashions. Art of Europe Collection ranges in date from the seventh century to the late twentieth century and includes paintings, sculpture, and works of decorative art.

The safety and accessibility of the Textile and Fashion Arts collection is being improved with the design and construction of custom storage mounts for costume accessories:

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