The Deutsches Textilmuseum Krefeld (German Textile Museum) houses some of the most important collections of textiles and clothing of historical value worldwide. At the moment, the collection comprises more than 25,000 items from all over the world, from antiquity to the present day, which are however not on show to the public.
It started off in the last quarter of the 19th century as a collection of textile samples used for educational purposes when training technical and artistic staff in Krefeld's textile companies. The textile collection of the sculptor Jakob Krauth from Mannheim was added to it and in 1880 the Royal Fabric Collection was formed, primarily for teaching purposes. The collection continued to grow and in 1936 Krefeld acquired it for a municipal museum. After the war, the Central Research Unit for the Restoration of Historical Fabrics, which was founded by the state of North Rhine Westphalia mainly for the purpose of preserving and restoring endangered valuable church textiles, was affiliated to the museum. From 1975 both these institutions combined to form the Textilmuseum Krefeld. In 1981 the museum was renamed Deutsches Textilmuseum Krefeld and was able to move into its own premises in Krefeld-Linn.
Since then, numerous exhibitions covering a wide range of textile themes have taken place at the Deutsches Textilmuseum. They ranged from medieval textiles to East Asian textile art, from history of fashion to modern textile artists.
The museum's own collection cannot be displayed permanently, because textiles are particularly delicate. The exhibitions are therefore changed three or four times a year, and show textiles from the museum's own collection or from other collections. For this reason the museum is only open to the public when an exhibition is on show.