The Department of Textiles contains more than 13,000 textiles and 66,000 sample swatches ranging from 300 B.C. to the present. The collection has strengths in Pre-Columbian textiles, European vestments, tapestries, woven silks and velvets, printed fabrics, needlework, and lace.

The department has strong holdings in 16th- and 17th-century English needlework, and printed and woven materials of the 18th and 19th centuries. American quilts and woven coverlets, Eastern textiles, and 20th-century fiber art are also represented.