THE BEST LINEN MUSEUMS OF EUROPE
European vacations can be dreamy, stunning and certainly educational. With countless museums and galleries to explore, it’s probably not often you hear someone saying “lets go to the linen museum!” However, for designers and lovers of fashion and interiors, the following museums offer interesting exhibits that take a deeper look into the technology, business and labor behind the linen industry.
The Irish Linen Centre (Lisburn, Ireland )
This modern addition to Lisburn’s Market House opened in 1994, and is attached to Lisburn Museum. ‘From Flax to Fabric’ is the permanent exhibition offering a visual tour through the history of linen, starting with how it has been made and used since Egyptian times. There’s even a piece of linen from the tomb of Tutankamun himself, dating from 1500BC!
The House of Linen (Routot, France)
The “La maison du Lin a Routot” in Normandy offers visitors a unique journey through the history of linen, and of France (Upper Normandy is one of the biggest producers of flax in Europe). The exhibits explore the culture, craft and industrial applications of the ancient fiber through audio-visual film and animation. And don’t forget to save some money for the boutique gift shop – it’s a linen lover’s dream!
Bruckbach Hoarstub'n Flax Museum (Attersee, Austria)
This authentic Parlor in northern Austria was erected in 1850 for the processing of flax (which is used to make linen). The museum, still located in the original structure today, displays ancient farming machinery and tools that were used in the local cultivation of flax through the 1920’s.
Linen Museum (Cremona, Italy)
The “Museo del Lino” in Italy was founded in the 1960s, and moved to its current headquarters in April of 2004. The Museum is an ethno-anthropological walk through the history of linen production and jobs, as well as exploring the struggle of linen workers in everyday life. The museum holds regular events and rotating exhibitions, and is run by artist Fabrizio Merisi (director of the museum). Rather than a pure historian, the director’s artist touch can be felt throughout the museum and makes for a unique stop in Cremona.
National Flax Museum - Texture (Courtrai, Belgium)
The Texture museum sits next to the river Lys and is within walking distance of the historic center of Kortrijk. The building was used from 1912 by the Linen Thread Company and today remains one of the most important remnants of the flax industry. The company worked with Irish & Scottish spinners and started some of the first wholesale purchases. The recently renovated building now includes a bistro, multipurpose room and offices, as well as rotating exhibits and events for kids.