Bamboo tray for carrying cut mulberry leaves for feeding silkworms, As used in Japan for sericulture. Transfer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology's Sericulture display, July 9, 1912.
At various points in American history, from colonial times onward, people experimented with sericulture - meaning the raising of silkworms and reeling of silk filaments from silkworm cocoons. At first it was hoped that this silk could be shipped to Great Britain for use in its silk textile manufacturing industry. Experiments in the 1760s and after, into the early 20th century, hoped to raise enough silk to support an American silk textile industry. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, efforts in California and other (primarily) western states were supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a display in the department's headquarters building in Washington, DC. The display also highlighted the imports of raw silk from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that most manufacturers used in their products. The contents of the display were transferred to the (then) U.S. National Museum in 1912, for exhibition in the Textile Hall, as educational background for the exhibition of silk textiles manufactured in the US.
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