One hundred years, one hundred donors: Charles T. Currelly as cloth collector

In 2014 the ROM celebrates 100 years of existence. This research project maps the early collecting of textiles at the Museum, especially the pioneering work of Charles T. Currelly, founding director of one of the Museum’s constituent bodies, the Royal Ontario Museum of Archeology. From 1902 until his retirement in 1946 , Currelly was personally involved in the acquisition of thousands of textiles from around the world. The project will document the roughly 100 sources who supplied him with cloth objects: donors as well dealers, the famous, infamous and lesser-known. This provenance information is key for understanding the textiles and costume collection currently housed at the ROM, why certain types were collected and to what purpose.  The project also examines Currelly's collecting strategy within the context of wider museum movements of the time around the world: was he a singular genius, or like his contemporaries in Europe and the United States, hoping to bolster national industry by providing exotic design to designers and manufacturers?

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