Project Threadways has been in the works for several years. In spring 2019, our team’s planning, learning, researching, and visioning came to life at the inaugural Project Threadways Symposium, held at The Factory. Following the symposium, Project Threadways was officially established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)—allowing us to further realize its mission of recording, studying, and exploring the history of the textile industry in The Shoals community, and the American South. Project Threadways continues to work in partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to record oral histories, expand its exhibition, offer community programming, and plan our annual symposiums among many more exciting endeavors. 

Our second annual Project Threadways Symposium, “Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future,” was originally scheduled for last month; we chose to postpone it until the fall out of an abundance of caution. At this time, we are taking further steps and rescheduling it for April 15 – 17, 2021, at The Factory. Our team continues to plan and prepare—the run of show remains the same and will feature our growing exhibition, engaging speakers, and a talented chef line up (see the schedule below). We’re monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to address the concerns and needs of our guests, keeping safety and health at the top of our priorities.  

We’ve recently been having conversations about documenting this time in textile history, and our oral historians are able to conduct remote interviews. If you have or know someone who has worked in the textile industry, please contact to share your story.  

Visit here if you would like to become more familiar with work of Project Threadways.  

Register for the 2021 symposium here.  

Visit here to learn how you can support the Project Threadways nonprofit.   

We’ll see you next spring, but we encourage you to be in touch with questions or conversations in the meantime by contacting We’ll continue to share updates and conversations about the history of textiles on our blog.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021 

6:00pm – Registration, Cocktails, + Exhibition Opening: Textiles Across Time and Place 

7:00pm – Friends of the Café Dinner with chef Whitney Otawka 

Friday, April 16, 2021 

9:00am – Late Registration + Rivertown Breakfast @ The Factory 

10:00am – Welcome + Introduction 

10:30am – The Factory Tour with Natalie Chanin 

11:00am – Short Break 

11:15am – Material Culture Across Time with Carrie Barske 

12:15pm – Short Break 

12:30pm – Cloth Bound Lunch featuring Smithy Ironware with Lisa Donovan, Angie Mosier, Cheetie Kumar, Judith Winfrey, and Ann Marshall 

2:00pm – The Geography of Textiles with Katie Randall, Jessamyn Hatcher, and Thuy Linh Tu 

3:00pm – The Future of Fashion with Dana Thomas 

4:00pm – Cocktail Hour + Small Bites @ The Factory 

6:30pm – Open Evening; optional dinner in downtown Florence 

Saturday, April 17, 2021 

9:00am – Rivertown Breakfast @ The Factory 

10:00am – An Expanded Oral History with Katie Randall 

11:00am – Clothing of the Enslaved ­with Katie Knowles 

12:00pm – The State of Threadways: Bag Lunch + Brainstorming 

2:00pm – Lecture to be determined. 

3:30pm – Optional: Making Workshop or Open Afternoon 

5:30pm – Pope’s Tavern Tour with local historian Brian Murphy 

6:30pm – Farewell Cocktails + Small Bites @ Uniform Shop: Tour of the Future ­with Carrie Barske 


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