The Museo del Tessuto is the largest cultural centre in Italy dedicated to the promotion of historical and contemporary textile production and art. The Museum represents the historical memory and the cultural interface of the Prato district, which has been identified with textile production since the Middle Ages. Today the district boasts over 7,000 companies operating in this sector.
The Museum was founded in 1975 within the "Tullio Buzzi" Industrial Technical Textile Institute, as the result of an initial donation of approximately 600 historical textile fragments. These were added to examples which had been gathered over the years by the Institute’s professors for students to consult and study. Since then, the collection has seen a significant increase in size thanks to the contribution of the Buzzi Institute Alumni Association and other important civic institutions, such as the Municipality of Prato, Cariprato and the Pratese Industrial Union.
In 1997, the Museum was temporarily housed in the Palazzo Comunale. During this period, the collection of contemporary fabrics was established, which continues to increase with seasonal fashion trends thanks to the relationship with the PratoTrade Association, a selection of fashion textile manufacturing companies. In 2003, the inauguration of the permanent premises took place in the restored spaces of the former Campolmi factory, a precious jewel of industrial archaeology situated within the old city walls.
Since 2012, the Museum has been granted the status of "museum of regional importance" pursuant to Art. 20 and 21 of Regional Law no. 21 of February 25th, 2010.