Dragon and Phoenix Software Intc.

Virtual Textiles

Building a Textile Legacy

Virtual textiles are digital representations that in the real world are constructed from a variety of materials. The wealth of textile heritage has been preserved in museums and collections around the world. Unfortunately, those textiles are becoming more and more fragile. Light, humidity and other environmental influences contribute to the degradation of the fabric of the textile. In an effort to preserve them longer, the textiles may be kept in storage or under restricted access, making them unavailable for public viewing.

Dragon and Phoenix Software (DPS) has chosen to partner with Catherine Bradley from McGill University (McGill) of Montreal, Canada in a worldwide effort to provide digital conservancy for these endangered textiles. McGill hosts the Open Access Database (OADB) for non-commercial use of the digital textiles forms and DPS is responsible for any commercial licensing or use of the digital textiles.


This commercial site contains a vast and ever-growing catalog of historical and vintage textiles. These textiles span many eras and geographies. Virtual textiles come in several forms, from flat images for graphic designers and topographic images for game developers and CGI artists, to structural analyses for those companies that wish to license the manufacturing of vintage textiles in the current day.

Textiles in Current Inventory: 1,484 Textiles in Processing Now: 26,483

Collection Funding Efforts

The collection team is a group of photographers, data entry and textile handling experts that must travel to the textile location. We set up our collection equipment, establish communications and focus carefully on the conservancy of the textiles. The effort does not end there. Once we travel back to the main office, extensive work is done to build a picture of provenance, clear images and other needed pieces of data. All of this requires funding.

VT is being approached by many small organizations and groups that have fragile and irreplacable textiles, but that cannot fund the base expenses of a collection effort. Some of these are Native American and other small cultural groups that have little or no way of obtaining funds. Smaller museums are also at risk, since funding for the preservation of the textiles in the museum itself is eroding, and their very lack of money means that they cannot easily finance the collection effort. VT has been trying to combine these pro bono collections with other efforts in the area of scheduled collections, but there are just too many of them. After much discussion, it was decided to solicit financial contributions to assist these groups in their need for the digital conservancy. Currently, our anxiously waiting groups include a small North American museum with totally unique, hand-created textiles from 120 years ago, a Native North American tribe with less than 150 members that has garments that exist in NO museum, a Japanese collector that has a small collection of 150 year old kimonos, an Eastern European organization that has many garments specific to their cultural group, etc. If you are willing to join us in the effort to get these collections conserved before they degrade, please click the button below.

Museums on Waitlist : 69 Tribal Groups on Waitlist : 34

Collections on Waitlist : 13 Other Cultural Groups on Waitlist : 17

Contribution Level