The American Textile History Museum has announced the Chace Catalogue, an online collection of items from the museum. The catalogue is currently in its “pilot” phase, but there are still over 500 items to view online (the eventual goal is to make all the Museum’s collections available online — over 15,000 items. You can visit the catalogue at http://www.athm.org/online_catalogue.htm.
The currently-available collections are the coverlet and spinning wheel collections, with a selection of other items available. The advanced search page allows you to do a search by keyword, with an advanced search available for field and date searches (Use the “Choose a Value” option if you’re unsure or want to browse.)
I did a keyword search for “wheel” and got 205 results. The default result listing provides object type, maker (or “unknown”), date made (sometimes as specific as “C. 1825-40”, sometimes just “18th century”), and a link to view. (There are also listing options to show pictures with the search results, or a detailed listing that lets you browse each result one by one. Look for the options at the top of the results page.)
Detail pages contain a little more information about the item (materials and size) along with an extensive description of the item. There’s also a small picture to the right of the details that’s not clickable. You can get a larger picture of them item by looking at the bottom of the detail page for the “Related Media Item”s and clicking that picture. It’ll open a larger picture in a popup window (though sometimes not large enough — there’s a fascinating vertical spinning wheel that looks like it should have been used by MC Escher.) Some of the items have multiple pictures (coverlets might have close-up pictures of their patterns, a picture of a particular part of the item showing how it’s cut a certain way, etc.
An announcement about the new online catalogue and additional information are available at http://www.athm.org/news_chace_catalogue.htm.