Tucked into an eddy of Adeline Street in South Berkeley is a strange little museum and retail shop. Founded by Kaethe and Jules Kliot in 1965 as “a place of support, knowledge, and encouragement for lovers of the textile arts,” the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles has been a Berkeley staple.
Presented as an old-timey dry-goods store, the museum has rotating exhibits as well as permanent displays. The store section carries an abundance of supplies while displaying an impressive amount of lacework, patterns, and ephemera. All are found under the swooping bells of hoopskirts hanging from the rafters.
Located toward the back of the museum are a few books for sale, along with a wall of gloves and various buckram hat forms. There is also an extensive sewing machine collection to peruse.
The staff that works inside the store and museum are all skilled needleworkers and offer helpful advice.
There are also rotating exhibits relating to the textile arts and costume history at Lacis Museum. These have included “Worn to Dance: 1920s Fashion and Beading,” wherein over thirty Jazz Age evening-wear ensembles were shown, and “Piña: The Philippine Cloth of Pride, Endurance & Passion,” much of which was later put on display at the SFO Museum. Later this spring (April 2023), they’ll open a new exhibit featuring all kinds of antique nightgowns, vintage loungewear, robes, and pajamas.
While you’re in the main shop area, there are a number of edifying displays full of interesting textile items from the museum’s permanent collection you can view on your own (there is a pair of enormous panels, one in each room, which you’re invited to flip through at your own pace), Lacis Museum’s special exhibit galleries are only viewable by appointment. Be sure to contact them if you want to see these! Tours are $3 per person, but are free to Lacis Museum members - who can even bring up to four other friends with them on the tour for free.
Know Before You Go
Their hours are noon to 6:00 PM, Monday to Saturday. Metered parking is available in front of the museum.
Lacis Museum's special exhibits are only viewable by appointment. Make sure to call or email them in advance if you want to take a tour!