Museum of Carpets
The Museum of Carpets, located in Centerville, Illinois, is the preeminent museum dedicated to the art of the carpet, and carpet collecting in the world. Here the carpet lover finds every imaginable style of carpet and rug, as well as carpets that are famous for being witness to histories most memorable moments, and for being owned by notables and n’er do wells alike.
Located in a state of the art 2 million square foot facility, the museum is noted for having the largest collection of carpets and rugs in the world. The curation staff leads the way in the important science of carpet identification, cleaning and sweeping of rugs, wall-to-wall installations and decorative rugs hooked by the hands of grandmothers around the world.
The museum, proper
A joint effort by the First Families of Carpets – the Berbers, the Pyles and Munchers, the Museum of Carpets was a response to the 1950s, which advocated such space age flooring materials such as tile made of asphalt, cork and rubber.
The well endowed museum dedicates its areas to all manner of carpets and dedicates 1.5 million square feet to displays, and 500,000 square feet to storage. Visitors may roam the facility and its spacious galleries for a small entrance fee:
- Hall of Sculptures and Shags – Celebrates the not only the laid back favorite of the carpet world, the Shag, but also the more formal multi-level of cut pile that is known as sculptured carpets.
- Deep Pile Galley – This most formal and reverent space is dedicated to the lush, plush and rich feeling that is deep pile. Here visitors – after receiving a cleansing foot bath, are invited to wade about in the deepest of the deep piles woven from pure wool and long wearing nylon.
- Piazza d’Broadloom - celebrates the industrial wonder that is broadloom carpeting by taking visitors on a tour of broadloom from 1900 to the present.
- The Mohican Mills Gallery of Area Rugs focuses its attention on the area rug, that war horse of the carpet world. Now, through 2012 the Gallery of Area Rugs features the multi-media extravaganza “Raison d'Etre: The Noble Rag Rug”.
- Persian Rug Yurt is dedicated to the art of handwoven rugs from Asian countries that we'd rather not have dipolmatic relations with. "While American's are digusted by their religion of terrorism, we simply can't help but spend obscene amounts of money for these hand knotted beauties," says Peg Entwistle, director of International Affairs.
Just for fun
Not all the work at the museum is serious. The education department has a traveling exhibit which is carried about by the organizations exclusive 747 flying museum. They are:
- “Levity – The World of Flying Carpets” celebrates carpets and the world of whimsy and magical genies and Princesses in distress.
- “See What You Are Missing” brings broadloom plush carpets in vibrant colors to the starving children of central Africa. The message helps to inspire those less fortunate to know that wall to wall carpet works in equatorial huts as well as in a Sultan’s palace.
- "George Washington Walked Here" is a special exhibition of rugs that historians think George Washington may have walked on at some point in his life.
If you go
The Museum of Carpets is located at 55012 Hilman-Disney Road, Centerville, Illinois. Overflow parking and a shuttle service is available from Cornland Plaza, one mile east.
Plan to dine at Carpet Muncher's American Bistro. Gourmet Guide recommends the Creme of Dyke Soup with just a whisper of salt.
The Tartan Arms Motor Lodge and Suds Shack is the hotel recommended by the Museum. Tell them that Daisy sent you for a special rate on a poolside room.
If you visit, please remember to take your shoes off before entering - they have just vacuumed and they don't need you tramping about with dirty feet. (This museum is also known as Ikeas basement.)