Returning to the Hawaiian Textiles and Alfred Shaheen exhibit library project, I finished my part of the bibliography today. So for any of you looking for more information about Alfred Shaheen, Hawaiian Textiles or the Arab Immigrant Textile tradition LOOK NO FURTHER, the full bibliography is below!
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The Arab American National Museum (AANM) has a gallery on the first floor where we host traveling or temporary exhibits, usually for 3-6 months. Our most current visiting exhibit was the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès collection of North African Jewelery we called Noble Jewels
Now that the Noble Jewels exhibit is completed, we are preparing for our brand new travelling exhibit from the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, entitled Hawaii’s Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion.
In the Library today I (along with other museum staff) am putting together a bibliography that corresponds to this exhibit. Alfred Shaheen was a revolutionary in textiles in Hawaii during the 1950′s and 60′s and he was a Syrian American. You probably recognize many of Shaheen’s designs in the popular hawaiian shirt and dress designs of the time. Elvis’s shirt in his movie ‘Blue Hawaii‘ was a Shaheen design.
We decided to trace the Syrian Textile tradition from the general trend among Syrian immigrants to go into the textile business to Alfred’s father George Shaheen who operated a large textile manufacturing place in New York and back to Alfred who moved to Hawaii to revolutionize the economy and textile manufacturing itself.
We split the task so I would tackle the general ‘Aloha Shirt’ part of the bibliography while the museum’s researcher would go into the Syrian textile tradition side. As I usually do when creating bibliographies, I like to find one great source as a seed and check out it’s Reference pages for any particularly important works, from there I branch into other sources and do the same until I find a pattern of commonly used works or perhaps previously unknown niche tiles to add to the list. I also spoke to Professor Linda Arthur from Washington State University Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles department, who has written quite a bit on the Aloha Shirt as well as the textile industry in Hawaii.
As soon as we complete both bibliographies, we plan to create a display or mini-exhibit of the research in the Library. Once everything is complete, I’ll be sure to share!
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