TextielMuseum: experimentation, ponderings and toasty sauce

In Tilburg you don't have to be bored for a single moment throughout the year. In fact: in general you miss more than you see. Luckily, we're here for you! Ticket to Tilburg is the leisure lighthouse on which you can navigate. The medicine against FOMO. The place where you can find out everything about the greatest hotspots, the coolest events and the most beautiful cultural gems. Like the TextielMuseum, the place to immerse yourself in the present, past and future of textiles.

Machines whirring, yarn rustling over steel, footsteps and murmurs - it wasn't really quiet in the TextielMuseum these past few months. Or rather: in the TextielLab - the testing ground for textiles, right in the heart of the museum. The past few months, with a little restraint here and there, the museum has been working hard on innovations in the fields of art, design and fashion. A really cool place to stroll through now that the museum is open to the public again! And, while you're there, be sure to visit the other special exhibitions the TextielMuseum has to offer. Read about our tour of the museum with Elles van Vegchel.

Tantalizing

You only have to walk in and you can immediately smell, hear, see and feel it: in this museum you will find the past, present and future of textiles. The smell of weaving and knitting machines, the feel of steel fabric on your fingertips. The effect of experiments by makers in the TextielLab. Elles: "Experience everything about textiles, in the broadest sense of the word. Here you will learn about the textile industry in Brabant and in the lab you will see what today's makers are experimenting with. We also give you a glimpse of the future of textiles. A total experience, where all your senses are stimulated."

"To get to know the TextielLab really well, you have to go and talk to the people behind the machines"

- Elles van Vegchel

Please touch

Immerse yourself in the works and thoughts of designer Kiki van Eijk: whimsical clocks, tapestries she made for Google and poetic window displays for the French luxury brand Hermès. And beware: at this exhibition it's not just about looking, looking and walking again. Elles: "It is precisely the intention that you discover Kiki's work in a playful manner, through soundscapes, theatrical use of light and an enormous diorama. This is how the exhibition has been very consciously arranged." Incidentally, it is not the intention to touch everything - hands are only welcome at the poetry table and at the handheld cameras. Also not to be missed: a sneak peak into the work processes of nationally and internationally known makers. "In the exhibition 'Makers Secrets' you get a unique behind-the-scenes look at artists and designers, some of whom are currently working in the TextielLab. They show their research, drawings and experiments. But also the end products or work in progress that results from them. So you get a view of their entire working process: from the very beginning to a fully-fledged product."

Must-see for song festival fans

Also unique and well worth checking out: from 9 June, seven song festival creations are on display at the TextielMuseum. These are dresses by Dutch designers that presenters Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Nikkie de Jager and singer Davina Michelle wore during the event. Be sure to bring your sunglasses, because this promises lots of shine and bling bling.

Dive into the lab

And what if you don't have much time - what is the one thing you absolutely must see in the TextielMuseum? "The TextielLab," Elles answers resolutely, "is a unique experience. That's where you really see what a profession and a skill working with textiles is." To get to know the TextielLab properly, she continues, you have to go and talk to the people behind the machines. "Visitors often feel a bit shy about doing that. But that's not necessary at all: our experts really enjoy talking about their profession. So talk to the people wearing the TextielMuseum blouse. Definitely do!"

"When you visit our museum: order a
tasty grilled sandwich with extra sauce"

- Elles van Vegchel

If the walls could talk

While attendants ensured that tea towels from the museum's own label 'by TextielMuseum' were neatly ironed again, Elles and her team prepared corona-proof interactions with visitors during the last lockdown. Online tours, remote offerings for schools, podcasts, online workshops... all were well attended and viewed. And they may well remain so, even now that the museum has reopened. The hit was an online lecture on paint recipe books, by TextielMuseum Head of Library Jantiene van Elk. "There was immediately a huge amount of enthusiasm for that. There was even a waiting list of people we couldn't fit in. That popular. That surprised me too, you know." Back to ironing: didn't the attendants soon get tired of it? Elles, laughing: "Absolutely. In the end, welcoming our visitors is what they love doing. And they are now ready again to welcome everyone with open arms."

Chef's secret

A good tour of the TextielMuseum makes you hungry. So what do you order when you arrive at the TextielCafé? Elles immediately starts laughing. "My absolute favourite is not a dish, but a part of it. Namely: our grilled sandwich sauce. It's so good." Exactly what goes into that sauce is a well-kept secret of the café's chef. When he goes on vacation, he always makes a large supply ahead of time - so he doesn't have to reveal the recipe. "If our chef ever retires, I'll have to make arrangements for that. That sauce has to stay. So if you visit our museum: order a delicious grilled sandwich with extra sauce."

Practical

The TextielMuseum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am - 5 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm - 5 pm. The TextielLab, TextielCafé and the Library are also open then. You can reserve a timeslot online via this link. In the museum there are no fixed walking routes (with the exception of narrow spaces) and you can move freely within 1.5 metres of others. By respecting these measures, the TextielMuseum offers a familiar, pleasant museum experience.

This story is part of Ticket to Tilburg's Culture Stories series. Curious about the next one? Then keep an eye on our culture page.

What's new?