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In cooperation with the Department of Monuments and Archaeology, Leiden, and with the financial support of the Fonds 1818, the TRC has set up an interactive exhibition about hand spinning from all over the world, past and present. The exhibition is open to the public from Monday 22 August until Wednesday, 21 December 2011, at the TRC Gallery, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Visitors to the exhibition will be introduced to the many diverse techniques and materials that are used to prepare fibres and then given the chance to hand spin them into threads.

From fibres to thread

The exhibition includes modern utensils, ethnological spindle whorls and various forms of spinning wheels. These and other tools show the complete process of spinning, from preparing the raw fibres to the many techniques that are used to spin the fibres into a thread, by hand.


The exhibition includes finds from pre-Columbian South America, Roman and medieval European remains, as well as Bronze Age Middle Eastern whorls. Together they provide a broad image of the worldwide history of hand spinning. Finds from the archaeological depot of the Leiden municipality tell about the close relationship between Leiden and the textile industry before the start of the industrial-scale production of broadcloth of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are also loans from the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, including spindle whorls from the famous excavations at Troy.

Interactive exhibition

Visitors will be given the opportunity to personally experience the technique of hand spinning , with a spindle, spindle wheel or a spinning wheel. They can use cotton, flax, silk or wool, but why not try some more exotic fibres, as for instance, from a camel, a yak or an alpaca, or even banana? 

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Hogewoerd 164
2311 HW Leiden.
Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 /
+31 (0)6 28830428  

The TRC is open again from Tuesday, 2nd June, but by appointment only.

Bank account number:
NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59,
Stichting Textile Research Centre

TRC Gallery exhibition:
5 Febr. -27 August 2020: American Quilts

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
Financial donations to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: