The collections portray the multifaceted history of the textile branch, its highs and lows, from the beginnings up into the present. Among the highlights of the collection are late antique fabrics from Coptic graves in Egypt, historical embroideries from the 14th century on, handmade lace from major European lace-making centers, ethnological textiles, historical fabrics and costumes, needlework utensils, and contemporary textile art objects. The hand- and machine-embroideries as well as fabric prints document the impressive development of the textile industry in Eastern Switzerland. Internationality and regional rootedness, flexible reactions to impulses from outside, and independent developments have characterized Swiss textile production from the start. To locate it within this web of inputs, own creativity, and world-wide interaction is one of the chief purposes of the Textile Museum St. Gallen. Its highly committed exhibition program attests to this and has earned the museum its reputation as one of the most important Swiss centers for questions regarding textile production in the context of general cultural-historical developments. On the basis of its collections, the Textile Museum establishes international references beyond the geographical area of Switzerland and reveals interdependencies and creative special developments.