The British Museum’s Palestinian textile collection constitutes one of the largest textile collections at the Museum, with over 1000 pieces, and is one the largest and most extensive in the world. The BM’s collection is unique in so far as it contains men’s, women’s and children’s dress (garments, hats, headdresses and face covers), cosmetic pouches and soft furnishings that roughly cover the period over the last 150 years. Most significantly, it contains day-to-day dress of both genders that is often missing in other notable collections.

In 2018 and 2019, OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury (Palestine, ITP Fellow 2013) returned to the British Museum on a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship in collaboration with colleagues in the Middle East department.  Omar’s project was to work with curators and collections to document and photograph the Palestinian textiles at the Museum’s Blythe House.  He was also able to choose some textiles for display in the Arab World showcase in the new Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world and give a lecture in partnership with the Palestine Exploration Fund.

“This project has allowed me direct access to one of the most important collections of Palestinian historic rural textiles in the world. To be able to examine, handle each object and study it has afforded me great insight into this field.”

OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury

OmarJoseph standing next to a large black textile

While at the Museum, OmarJoseph, alongside Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Phillis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum and Felicity Cobbing, Chief Executive and Curator at the Palestine Exploration Society, made an insightful and informative film on the collection and what he’s achieved in his time at the Museum.

This project was generously funded by the British Council (Occupied Palestinian Territories), the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust and the Palestine Exploration Fund.  And special thanks go to Sian Toogood, AV & Production Manager and Roux Malherbe, Producer, both of the British Museum, for putting this wonderful film together.