Colorado State’s Department of Design and Merchandising Hosts Open House; Announces Gift of Rare Lace Collection

Colorado State University’s Department of Design and Merchandising will host a special open house for its Historic Collection from 3-5 p.m. April 27 in Room 314 Gifford Building.

The open house is a rare opportunity for community members to view more than 10,000 garments, textiles and artifacts housed in the collection, which generally is open only to faculty, students and independent scholars.

At the open house, the university also will announce a gift to the collection from the late Ruth Payne Hellmann of Westbury, N.Y. The Ruth Payne Hellmann Lace Collection is valued at more than $141,000 and consists of more than 3,000 lace samples, 300 books and 900 tools. The collection also includes examples of multiple types of bobbins, needles, embroidery and crocheted and knitted lace.

Hellmann had a successful career as a chemist and science librarian, but her lifelong passion was for lace and lace making. Hellmann’s lace making talents were recognized nationally, and she received several awards for design and execution of her pieces. She volunteered for many years as the assistant to the curator of the textiles department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She was responsible for identifying, cataloging and arranging the lace in the museum’s collection, one of the largest lace collections in the world.

Participants in the open house will view selected lace samples from the Hellmann Collection and an array of garments and textiles including beaded dresses from the 1920s, Navajo rugs, Japanese kimonos, wrap garments from Africa, 19th century quilts and many more objects from around the world.

The open house also will recognize the Institute of Museum and Library Services for its grant to provide museum-quality storage units to the Department of Design and Merchandising within the College of Applied Human Sciences. The installation of the state-of-the art storage units was recently completed and the units now are being used to safeguard the fragile objects in the collection when not on display.

The event is an opportunity for the university to extend special thanks to community members who have supported the collection through donation of artifacts, funds and volunteer services.