Over the past two years, MOCA has partnered with the FIT Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice graduate program to conserve and rehouse MOCA’s textile collections. In November 2020, the Collection Management Skills class taught by Valerie Soll conducted a case study offering collection management advice to the Collections department. FIT students were divided into groups and presented ideas to MOCA’s collection staff on such topics as resolving issues with collections organizing practices, developing a rehousing plan, monitoring environmental controls and integrated pest management, and updating the health safety, security, and disaster plan.
Recently in January 2022, MOCA worked with the Advanced Conservation II class taught by Deborah Trupin on costume and textile rehousing. MOCA has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to rehouse 117 opera costumes and 330 qipaos (traditional Chinese dresses) that have been water damaged due to the 5-alarm fire. Students helped with this grant project and rotated among two rehousing stations: one to roll flat textiles onto archival tubes and another to box the collection’s large opera costumes. As many of the qipao and other garments in MOCA’s collection are going to be stored hanging in the future, students made padded hangers to add proper support to the garments. Students also worked at a labeling station to sew twill tape labels onto the inside of garments so that they could be easily identified by accession number. Lastly students took turns working with the conservators from AM Art Conservation to survey costumes and textiles to assess damage and recommend conservation treatment. This rehousing project will continue for one additional week in April 2022.