Video about the impact of the TextielMuseum, now and in the future. Animation: Extrafazant
Connecting Tilburg’s textile past, present and future
Tilburg has been shaped by its long textile history. Times may have changed, but textiles continue to play an important role in everyday life: we wear them, sleep under them, clean and decorate with them. For centuries, textiles have been used to tell stories. They also provide innovative technical solutions in a range of fields, from medicine to the automotive industry. As a museum and workshop in one, we are uniquely positioned to connect Tilburg’s textile past to the present and future of textiles. By carrying out our planned renovations, we can realise our dream of continuing Tilburg’s rich textile legacy, now and in the future.
Artist Otobong Nkanga and product developer Stef Miero in the TextielLab, the workspace of the TextielMuseum, photo: Willeke Machiels
Museum of the future
Our reputation and visitor numbers are growing. This means we not only need more room, but we also want to enhance our visitor experience and exhibition spaces and expand our family programming. We are upgrading the overall layout and route through the museum, so that we can tell the story of textiles in a clearer and more appealing way. Our goal is to welcome 100,000 visitors per year. Renovating and improving the sustainability of the former textile factory, which is a national monument and an icon of the Tilburg textile industry, is also part of our plans.
Family game in the exhibition ‘To Dye For’, photo: Merel van Dooren
Creative heart of the city
Our ambitions extend beyond our own walls. We want to open the museum grounds to local residents and other like-minded people. Together with our partners and the municipality, we are looking into repurposing the adjacent Drögepand, which is currently being used on a temporary basis. The wide range of users will make the museum grounds even more attractive and dynamic for makers, companies, visitors and residents. At the same time, we will be supporting the municipality’s strategy to position Tilburg as a city of makers, in a way that aligns perfectly with the factory’s original function as a place where creativity, craftsmanship and commerce meet.
“This neighbourhood, which is steeped in textile history, deserves it.”
Mariette van Dooren, local resident
First exploration of the potential redevelopment of the TextielMuseum and surroundings in Tilburg, sketch by Mecanoo architects June 2022
We’ve already started!
In early 2022, a committee that included the municipality and the TextielMuseum, among others, selected architectural firm Mecanoo and engineering company ABT to begin researching the redevelopment of the TextielMuseum and surrounding area (read more here). In the coming months, they will work with partners, residents and other stakeholders to refine the plans. A decision on the actual redevelopment is expected before the summer of 2023.
In the meantime, we have already started implementing several changes to our programming. For makers, we have expanded our technical capacity and developed an online platform for knowledge sharing, thanks to structural support from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Visitors can also be makers for a day: in the TextielLab’s Design Studio, they can design their own socks and watch them roll off the knitting machine. This new permanent activity was funded by the BankGiro Loterij and Fonds21. Our updated exhibition programming focuses on current social themes related to textiles, such as sustainability in the fashion industry, which we addressed in ‘Long Live Fashion’. We are also experimenting with improved offerings for younger visitors, like the family weekend we organised as part of ‘To Dye For’.
Exhibition ‘Long Live Fashion!’, photo: Josefina Eikenaar