Tech Tapestry comes to the Cade Museum

Press release from the Cade Museum

Visitors to the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention will discover a patchwork of wonders in an all-new museum-wide theme Tech Tapestry: Threads of Invention and its accompanying exhibit Fabric Frontiers: Textiles and Technology

Running Feb. 3-May 29, 2022, the surprise-filled theme and exhibit go beyond the fabrics of fashion and furniture. They explore innovations that span from the South Pole to outer space and the vast expanse of the internet. 

In Tech Tapestry, the life and work of the textile craft’s inventors and artisans unfurl onto imaginative displays of bios, stories, and infographics. Each space of the museum explores a different aspect of textiles. In the Creativity Lab, visitors can discover how textiles are made, from yarn to garment. They can spin yarn from fiber, stretch slime into gooey threads, and design their own runway-ready fashions. In the Fab Lab, kids and adults can explore 3D printed textiles and piece together an electronic quilt. 

In the theme’s special exhibit, Fabric Frontiers, visitors can take a deeper dive into the world of textiles. The latest, freezing-cold-protective outerwear worn by Antarctic explorers adds an undeniable cool factor. 

One display jets back to the lunar landing, when NASA turned to older female garment workers to send astronauts to the moon. In 1965, one could have observed a dozen women passing needles through metal eyelets in an activity that could have been mistaken for weaving. But, they were weaving ferrite core beads and copper wire—creating computer memory. Nearby, a craft activity invites visitors to mimic textile-inspired technology using large threads to weave messages in binary code. This way, kids and adults can learn hands-on about hard drives stitched by “little old ladies” for the Apollo Guidance Computer.  

“In signature Cade fashion, STEAM learning is infused into new interactive activities in Tech Tapestry,” said Cade Museum Executive Director Stephanie Bailes. “I’m proud of the many ways our educators mix fun and learning. They never fail to surprise us with new approaches and learning outcomes.” 

For the ultimate STEAM-powered cross-pollination, everyone should dabble, at least once, with the exhibition’s digital loom. Guests can feed the clever machine a stack of cards that holds a hidden pattern. With each punch card, the loom reveals a row of colored lights.  Visitors can copy the patterned lights with colored pencils, one row at a time, to complete a picture. 

Indeed, magic comes from weaving together different disciplines. Discovering those common threads lies at the heart of Tech Tapestry and the Cade Museum’s mission to spark wonder in us all.