The University of Arizona
Textiles from the ASM Collection

ASM Southwest Textile Database


We are pleased to present the online Arizona State Museum Southwest Textile Database. This compendium of information and images began with a cataloging and computerization project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1977–1979. For that project, Ann Lane Hedlund compiled analytical data and Helga Teiwes photographed more than five hundred textiles owned by Arizona State Museum. Organized by former staff members Holly Chaffee and Jan Bell, this was the first specialized computer database for southwestern textiles, uniting detailed technical analyses and historic documentation through the Smithsonian’s then state-of-the-art SELGEM program. Since then, other textiles have been added to ASM’s permanent collections, many of which are also included here. Of course, technology has moved forward in ways we couldn’t envision in the 1970s, so the textile records were converted from SELGEM’s mainframe computer files to desktop versions of FileMaker Pro and, later, Microsoft Access. Another conversion to MySQL was done to allow for web-based access. Teiwes’s 35mm slides were scanned with funding from the Museum Loan Network in 2004–2005.

Please note that in addition to the database, you will find here a users’ guide, more about ASM’s textile collections, a Southwest textile glossary, further reading, copyright and proper site use information, credits to staff and contributors, and other relevant features. Furthermore, the separate Joe Ben Wheat Southwest Textile Database is also featured on this website and contains information on selected textiles from ASM as well as more than fifty other museums. All of these links will remain available in the side navigation bar as you search or browse the database.

We invite you to explore the ASM Southwest Textile Database and see what your searches reveal. For starters, a fun search might be to check the boxes that limit items to only those with images and with dye tests performed; this reveals a group of stellar classic and late classic blankets, some with interesting collection histories. Depending on your interests, your own queries may be very specific or quite broad.

We are interested in your comments, reactions and suggestions for improving this website. Using the easy comment form provided on each webpage or by contacting Diane Dittemore (ethnological collections curator) or Ann Hedlund (curator, ethnology) directly, you may give us suggestions for how the site works or doesn’t work for you. Using your responses, we hope to continue improving the search and display mechanisms and, most importantly, to expand everyone’s knowledge of the textile traditions of the American Southwest.

More About this Database:
Credits | Copyright & Conditions of Use