The collections of the Textile Museum and Library St. Gallen date back to the second half of the 19h century and follow in the tradition of the museums of applied arts and design and sample collections founded throughout Europe at that time. Their purpose was to inspire industry, to serve as models for production, and also to cultivate “good taste”. In 1863 the Kaufmännisches Direktorium – the Association of St. Gallen´s Merchants – begins to specifically collect pattern samples for local manufacturers and to systematically expand the existing collection. The museum is founded in 1878. In the course of time the collection is extended through acquisitions, but above all through the donations of significant private collections and textile industry archives. The collections of the industrialist family Iklé are of utmost importance. Today the museum remains dedicated to the founding concept of being a source of inspiration for designers and innovators.