How to Use the Collection

How to Use the Collection

How to Use

The Textile and Costume Collection at Philadelphia University is a resource not only for our faculty and students but independent scholars, museums, designers, and companies that are interested in using historical material for new objectives and design.



Students and Faculty

How to Use the CollectionObjects in the Textile and Costume Collection are non-circulating but may be used for research and instruction in The Design Center. To facilitate research and study, the majority of our holdings are available to the PhilaU community online through Shared Shelf. You are encouraged to browse the collection online and request specific objects to view while making your appointment. If you have questions or difficulty accessing Shared Shelf please contact Sarah Daub at daubs@philau.edu.

Faculty are encouraged to contact the curator directly to learn more about how the collection can benefit their courses and research, and to make special arrangements for usage of the collection for classes or tours. During class visits a predetermined selection of objects will be placed on display in the galleries and can be used for instruction, sketching, or study. Tours are lead into the archive 5 people at a time. Access to the storage areas of the collection for research appointments is allowed on a one-to-one basis with a member of our staff.

Faculty and students may visit the collections for research or study purposes by appointment only. You may schedule research appointments by emailing Jade Papa, Curator, at papaj@philau.edu or thedesigncenter@philau.edu at least one week in advance. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance.



Independent Scholars and Museum Professionals

In addition to our extensive textile swatch collection and 19th and 20th century costume, our holdings include a number of documents and records important to the business history of American textile manufacturing in the 20th century. These resources are supplemented by swatch and dye stuffs books and textile design croquis currently held in the Paul J. Gutman Library at Philadelphia University. Over nine-thousand swatches have been digitized on our Tapestry application  and work is on-going to make the remainder of our holdings available to the public through Shared Shelf.

The Textile and Costume Collection also has under its care hundreds of items from the Philadelphia Civic Center, which closed in the early 2000s. These objects represent commercial textile and costume production from around the world in the late-19th and 20th centuries and are a rich, new area for research. Holdings include textiles made for export in Eastern Europe, China, and India, a remarkable collection of woven straw hats, and much more.

How to Use the Collection

Collaborators interested in using objects from Philadelphia University’s collection for exhibitions may contact the curator directly.

Tours are lead into the archive 5 people at a time. Access to the storage areas of the collection for research appointments is allowed on a one-to-one basis with a member of our staff. You may schedule research appointments by emailing Jade Papa, Curator, at papaj@philau.edu or thedesigncenter@philau.edu at least one week in advance. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance.



Designers and Companies

The Design Center’s resources are available to designers and companies by appointment. Many of our swatches and some examples of our fashion holdings are available online by visiting us on Tumblr. Here you will get a sense of the rich visual resource available for textile, fashion, and interior design inspiration. Many firms have already made use of our extensive collections including J.Crew, Free People, Urban Outfitters, as well as local retailers such as Philadelphia’s Art in the Age.

The mission of the Textile and Costume Collection at Philadelphia University has been since its founding to educate and inspire future designers. It is our goal to continue making our collection available to the broader community of designers in an effort to build on this patrimony and inspire better design for the future.

Tours are lead into the archive 5 people at a time. Access to the storage areas of the collection for research appointments is allowed on a one-to-one basis with a member of our staff. You may schedule research appointments by emailing Jade Papa, Curator, at papaj@philau.edu or thedesigncenter@philau.edu at least one week in advance. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance.

How to Use the Collection