Whether you are an avid sewer or just a sewing machine fanatic, you might enjoy going to a museum where sewing machines are featured.
Yes, they exist!
There are a variety of different showcases of sewing machines. There are not only museums that are completely dedicated to sewing machines, but there are also general museums that feature sewing machine exhibits.
In this article, we have listed five sewing machine museums that you might enjoy:
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1. Vintage Sewing Machine Museum:
Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Vintage Sewing Machine Museum is a perfect spot to see old and beautiful vintage sewing machines.
This museum has a lot to offer someone who is interested in old vintage machines. Not only are there are a large variety of vintage machines to look at, but you can expect an informative and even interactive tour while you are there.
At this museum, you can expect both common and rare machines, murals, and even theme rooms. Even if you are not a sewer, you can appreciate this museum.
The museum has an inspiring beginning story. The owner wanted to learn enough to re-upholster his boat cushions but fell in love with sewing in the process.
He then wanted to build this museum to bring the beauty of old sewing machines to those who might not otherwise get to experience them.
If you plan to visit this museum, you can expect a hands-on experience. This museum encourages you to learn to sew, try out a vintage machine, and take an informative tour.
2. London Sewing Machine Museum:
As the name suggests, the London Sewing Machine Museum is located in London, England.
This museum is tucked away on the second floor of a massive warehouse.
This museum is a really rare treat that is only open for three hours a month. You can visit this museum for free on the first Saturday of every month from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Like the Vintage Sewing Machine Museum, this museum is packed with vintage machines that you can touch as long as it is not one protected by glass.
This museum shows the history of the sewing machine from 1850 to 1950.
Not only does this museum feature over 600 sewing machines, but the owner has also recreated a full reproduction of his family’s sewing machine shop.
Among the collection is the sewing machine that was made in 1865 and was given to Queen Victoria’s first-born daughter, as well as the tall wooden sewing machine made back in 1829 created by Barthelemy Thimmonier, who is believed to have invented the sewing machine.
This museum also has informed tour guides to give you any information that you might want on the machines since most of them do not have much in the way of display information.
3. Brother Museum:
Brother Sewing Machines are very popular choices when it comes to all sorts of sewing machines.
They offer sewing, embroidery, quilting, and multi-use machines.
Their company began in 1908 and was started in Nagoya, Japan. They became an international corporation in 1955.
If you are interested in Brother or their machines, you can see them at the Brother Museum located in their founding location of Nagoya Japan.
This museum was designed with the intention of creating a relationship between Brother and the public.
This museum features zones such as:
- Sewing Machine Zone
- Communication Zone
- History Zone
- Environmental Exhibit
- Experience Zone
These zones each have something new to offer visitors.
The sewing machine zone features antique sewing machines as well as the flagship products from Brother’s sewing machine line. Looking at these, you can see things such as the structure of a machine, try out an old fashioned foot controller, and other great things about the machines.
The other zones offer different types of experiences that have to do with sewing such as the history of brother and their products, the experience of using their products, new product releases and other presentations, and even their environmental technologies.
4. Smithsonian National Museum of American History:
The National Museum of American History is located in Washington, D.C., and is not a sewing machine museum. However, they do have a vintage Singer sewing machine on display.
Like Brother Sewing, Singer is also a highly recognizable sewing machine brand. However, unlike Brother, Singer does not have its own museum. There are exhibitions of Singer sewing machines in other more general museums, like the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Sewing machines and sewing is a large part of American history. The Singer Corporation was founded in New York in 1851, by Isacc Merritt Singer. Singer wanted to create a different type of sewing machine than was on the market.
The Singer sewing machine that you can find in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is a Singer 24 chain stitch sewing machine that was made in 1910.
In addition to the sewing machine that is on display, you can also learn the history of the Singer Corporation and sewing in America.
You can see a scale-model of the Singer Tower or the central headquarters. This building that was built in Manhattan’s financial district, was one of the first commercial skyscrapers in the United States. This building was also the tallest building in the world for about a year after it was built.
You can also find other Singer exhibitions in other general museums at various times as well as in vintage sewing machine museums.
If you are a history buff, this museum would be a great place to visit to see other important histories from America’s past.
5. The Franklin Institute:
The Franklin Institute is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is also not a sewing machine specific museum. However, they do feature a great exhibit called “Amazing Machine.”
This exhibit features a variety of machines that have a variety of purposes. At this exhibit, you can see everyday machines side by side with rarely seen machines.
Some examples of machines that you can see are:
- The inner workings of a vacuum
- The inner workings of a drill
- An operational crane arm
- An inside look at a model of the Strasbourg Cathedral Clock
- Moving cams that are used to make music
You can also see what makes antique sewing machines sew. Antique sewing machines do not have all the conveniences of modern sewing machines. But that doesn’t mean that they are not useful and unique little machines.
Not only do you get to see an antique sewing machine, like other museums listed, but you will get to see the inner workings and learn how they operate.
Another fun thing that you can do at this exhibit is to use linkages, cams, gears, and pulleys to create your very own machine.
Privately Shown Collections:
In addition to museums that are open to the public, there are a large number of private collections that you can look at.
These collections are normally featured online if you are looking, but you can only go see them by appointment only.
These places would require you to call and set up a tour to a place that would otherwise not be open.
These collections can be small, but this is not always the case. Some private collections are large and have been created by people in the sewing machine industry. Some are even put together by sewing machine manufacturers and other sewing machine shop owners.
Going to a private collection would allow you to get a more involved tour, but you will want to check with reviews so that you know exactly what you are getting into.
Other Ways to Enjoy Vintage Sewing Machines:
If you are not in an area that makes going to one of these museums possible, you can still enjoy vintage sewing machines in other ways.
There are some places that allow virtual tours, you can find vintage machines on Pinterest, and you can even join vintage and antique sewing machine enthusiasts groups.
Collecting vintage sewing machines might also be an option for you. They can be costly, so this might not be possible for everyone, but there are a lot of museums that started out as personal collections.
Whether you are interested in vintage sewing machines, the history, and evolution of sewing machines, or just how sewing machines work, there is a museum exhibit that is right for you.
Sewing machine museums come in a wide variety, from personal collections open to the public to more official museum exhibits. They are also featured all over the world.
Sewing is a skill that has been needed since the beginning of time. The sewing machine helped make sewing faster, more efficient and allowed clothesmaking to be more accessible.
Sewing machines have been around since the 1800s and have a very rich history and evolution of machines.
Looking at sewing machines throughout the ages is a great way to learn more about your machine and how far it has come from the original designs. Seeing how machines have evolved can really give you an appreciation for your modern machine and how simple it is to use.
Whether you are interested in sewing or not, any of these museums would be interesting to visit and explore.