The Library Is Still Open!
MoMu Library remains open by appointment during the temporary closure of the museum. Meet its visitors.
No amount of Internet research can replace the comprehensive and detailed information available in books. Most online data is summarised and it's challenging to find authoritative sources. The MoMu Library is a true refuge.
Gabriëlle de Pooter (36), doctoral researcher LiLI Project at Ghent University
GABRIËLLE DE POOTER: "Together with four other academics I am conducting research on intimacy practices by older women for the LiLI (Later-in-Life-Intimacy) Project. I mainly visit the library to work on this project. My research is not directly related to fashion, but embodiment is a crucial part of it. The collection definitely includes sources and guidelines that are relevant to LiLI. When I was a teenager, I went to MoMu for the first time with my mother and we of course paid a visit to the library as well. I remember being impressed by all the books and magazines on fashion. I was particularly intrigued by the ‘Fashion Theory’ series. I was very interested in fashion and all of a sudden I found myself in a place where this interest made perfect sense.
When I’m not working at the university or from home, you’ll find me here – depending on the aspect of my research. There are several silent workspaces in Antwerp, but the MoMu Library is small-scale in a pleasant way and its interior is inspiring. I also find it calming that the staff members are busy working around me. On top, the library has a very low threshold: you simply have to register by e-mail. "
Kaat Houtman (36), teacher Cultural studies at OLVC+ Antwerp
KAAT HOUTMAN: "Every academic year we organise a Human Sciences Day with our classes to experience our subject area outside of the school walls. In the past we headed to Museum Dr. Guislain, FOMU and other places of relevance. The corona crisis was again cause for a lot of uncertainty this year. We only knew at the very last minute, that the excursion would be able to take place after all. When I browsed MoMu’s website, the workshop ‘Mode & Identi(tijd)’ caught my eye. I immediately knew this was the perfect activity for my students.
I personally feel that the workshop was very successful, my students were completely on board. Fashion is a very accessible approach to allow them to travel through time. The workshop touched upon many subjects that are covered in history class by using historical garments in an imaginative way. The students were able to reflect on the role clothing plays in shaping their identity. This sparked a lot of interesting conversations."
Gabrielle Szwarcenberg (21), student at the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp
GABRIELLE SZWARCENBERG: "I am doing research for my second Bachelor project on a historical costume from a painting. I selected ‘Amsterdam Orphan Girl’ by Nicolas van der Waay from 1890. We are expected to immerse ourselves in the world of the costume of our choice. The goal is to reproduce this costume as thoroughly and historically accurately as possible. Familiarising yourself with the country, the climate and the culture of this time period is essential. Next you have to learn more about the layers of the costume, how to develop historical patterns, traditional needlework or corsets and treat fabrics. I found several books with valuable information at the library. These are often expensive and rarely available in full online.
This is what appeals to me: being able to browse the online library collection from home. This way I am well prepared for my appointment, with a checklist of the books I want to consult. The staff are happy to advise me about additional sources that might benefit my research. No amount of Internet research can replace the comprehensive and detailed information available in books. Most online data is summarised and it's challenging to find authoritative sources. The MoMu Library is a true refuge."
Kenny Damian (40), freelance conservator/curator and embroiderer
KENNY DAMIAN: "I teach the course ‘haute couture embroidery’ at Syntra in Brussels and Antwerp together with Linda Van Camp. It’s important that students learn to look at historical examples of embroidery as well. Therefore, I regularly come have a look at the objects on display in the study collection. The staff is very helpful. Everything is well organised: I can submit a shortlist of the objects that I want to view to them in advance. As I am coming back with the students soon, I am now selecting from this list. Firstly, to familiarise them with the library: nowhere else in Belgium you will find a collection of books specifically on textile and costume of this size. We will also analyse the objects I selected in terms of embroidery.
I personally think the study collection is a huge added value. Through my job as a textile and costume conservator I often come into contact with original historical pieces. The study collection allows truly anyone to study objects like these up close. I often visited the library during my studies. It had been a while, but I suspect that I will stop by more often in the future, with students but for my own embroidery projects as well."