A private client brought their grandmother’s embroidery to Museum Textile Services for conservation late in 2020. The embroidery was started by the client’s grandmother and later finished by their mother. The embroidery depicts the client’s grandmother’s family, who were held at an internment camp in the Philippines during World War II. The internment camp was at the University of Santo Tomás in Manila from January 1942 until February 1945.
The lettering around the perimeter of the embroidery reads “Santo Tomas Univ. ‘Food and clothing for three days’ Internment camp Manila. Jan. 6, 1942; Feb. 3, 1945.” At the center is a family portrait under a tent with the internment camp in the background. There are faint lines of handwriting in the upper-left corner, of which the last word is “Philippines.” There are two miniature figures on either side of the top line of cross stitch that appear to be agricultural workers.
This embroidery provides a snapshot into a young girl’s life during a tumultuous period in history. After conservation, it can now be shown for years to come.