Textile Discoveries


My first day of work at ATHM was a learning experience. During my meet-and-greet with the staff, Jim Coleman, the President and CEO, passed a baseball over to me and asked me what percentage of it consisted of textiles. I stared hopelessly at the baseball. I am by no means a textile expert, and was thinking that the question must be a trick one. So, I gave an embarrassingly incorrect estimate. As it turns out, 67% of a baseball is made from textiles!

Like I mentioned, I’m not an expert. In fact, the only time I ever looked to see what textile I was wearing was when I was doing the laundry. Even then, I didn’t put much thought into where the textile came from, or what had to be done to produce the garments I wear. However, the truth about textiles is that they are everywhere, and working at ATHM has been an eye-opening experience.

Every time I purchase lunch from the Gazebo Café, I’m mindful of the fact that the money I hand over is a blend of linen and cotton. Whenever I reach for our letterhead to send an update to our members, I’m pleased to know that 25% of the paper is made from cotton. Walking through our permanent exhibit Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time, I’ve learned about the important roles textiles play in keeping our cars safe. Every day, I’m in awe at how much we rely on textiles!

This new-found appreciation and discovery of textiles has not just affected me. After visiting the Museum and learning about the process of making linen, my husband now wants to grow flax in our backyard. In fact, my brother-in-law gave us a cutting board for Christmas last year and I noticed it was partially made from flax. We got so excited about this discovery that we spent the next few minutes expanding on the fascinating world of flax and linen.

So, what exactly makes up that 67% of a baseball? Come check out our exhibit Textile Revolution to have a textile discovery of your own!

Maren Caulfield
Coordinator of Membership & Development

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