[ a note on textile conservation]

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Old fabrics are often fragile and need special care. When a garment is displayed in an exhibition, the pull of gravity can damage seams or the fabric itself. If beads are sewn on the fabric, the damage could be accelerated due to the weight of the beads. A person who is especially trained to prevent such damage is a textile conservator. The conservator's job is to repair and strengthen garments so they can be displayed safely.

Textile conservation students at the University of Rhode Island worked all summer to clean and stabilize the dresses, capes and textiles for the Tirocchi exhibit. Many of the 1920s and 1930s fabrics are beaded sheer silk chiffons that are no longer strong enough to hold the weight of the beads without tearing. The students used special techniques to attach strong fabrics underneath the weak silk. They repaired damaged areas, checked for loose beads, and wet cleaned soiled textiles. They also made slips of appropriate style and color for many of the dresses. The following pictures show some of the textile conservation work done on Tirocchi objects.