Palestinian Heritage Foundation 

Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
    Volume 12,  No. 1                            June 2006    

نشرة مؤسسة التراث الفلسطيني

Craft and Folk Art Museum to Host the Munayyer Collection

“Sovereign Threads: A History of Palestinian Embroidery” will open to the public at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 15, 2006. Coming less than three months after the successful exhibition “Threads of Tradition: Palestinian Bridal Costumes”, Sovereign Threads is the latest of PHF activities to show the American public and our own Arab-Americans the beauty of Palestinian embroidery, motifs and symbols stitched on these stunning garments representing now-vanished Palestinian villages, and the women that wrote Palestinian history with needle and thread.

The exhibit includes selections from the pristine collections of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation and that of Hanan and Farah Munayyer. This historic display is the first of its kind in a Los Angeles museum and comes almost twelve years after “Out of the East” exhibited for three months at the Mingei Museum of Folk Art at La Jola, San Diego.

Items on display include dresses representing Bethlehem, villages around Jerusalem, Hebron region, Ramallah region, Jaffa region, Gaza, Galilee, and the Southern and Coastal regions. In addition to the dresses, there are veils, headpieces, jackets and jewelry. Complementing the antique garments on display are contemporary cross stitch embroidery in the form of pillows, wall hanging, runners, scarves and other items, made by young women of the Palestinian refugees of In’aash in Lebanon.


Contact: Grace Nguyen Samantha Rader 323-937-4230 ex. 31 323-821-5544



July 16 – September 17, 2006

The Craft and Folk Art Museum presents “Sovereign Threads: A History of Palestinian Embroidery”, the first museum exhibition of Palestinian embroidery and costumes in Los Angeles. This historic exhibition addresses the struggle to sustain a cultural heritage and identity despite a displaced and fragmented society. Featured will be costumes from different villages in the regions of historic (pre-1948) Palestine including Ramallah, Jerusalem (Al Qods), Bethlehem and Galilee (Al Jalil), from the collection of Farah and Hanan Munayyer, founders of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. Contemporary embroidered works, using old traditional motifs, adapted to modern designs, created by The Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps (INAASH) and embroidered by women in refugee camps in Lebanon will also be displayed and available for sale in support of human services.

CAFAM has partnered with The Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps (INAASH), founded in Lebanon in 1969 to improve the living conditions in the camps by creating jobs for women and preserving the Palestinian national heritage.

Costumes featured in this exhibition will focus on bridal dresses, prepared several years before the bride’s engagement, worn at the wedding, and throughout the marriage on ceremonial occasions. Each cluster of villages has its own style of traditional costume; the specific colors, stitches, and patterns in the dress easily distinguish it from those of a different region. The costumes on display date back to the late 19th- early 20th centuries. The bridal dresses and accompanying headpieces and jewelry were produced during the 1860’s to the 1940’s. Textile arts have been of unique importance in the Middle East since antiquity. From the pre-biblical era and with each passing phase of history, the tradition of spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery has been held in high esteem. The effects of modernization combined with war and on-going conflict have threatened the continuity of this legacy.

Although the majority of Palestinian women and others today wear modern dress, many enjoy wearing an embroidered jacket, abaya, shawl or scarf for special occasions. Old patterns are now kept alive in items for house decoration such as cushions, tablecloths, wall hangings etc. Such contemporary items created by INAASH and embroidered by women living in refugee camps in Lebanon will be shown. INAASH was founded by a group of Lebanese and Palestinian women who foresaw the necessity of preserving Palestinian cultural traditions after their displacement. The Association’s “Embroidery Project” creates jobs for women living in camps and supports their economic independence in very difficult circumstances. Proceeds from the sale of these items will also go to support INAASH Kindergartens and Youth Centers in the refugee camps.

Huguette Caland, artist and INAASH co-founder, who now lives and works in her Venice, CA home studio has been instrumental in organizing this international collaboration, “The motifs in Palestinian costumes and embroidery are some of the most beautiful in the world and have influenced textile and fashion designs for years.” muses Caland. “Sovereign Threads” is a testament to the power of folk art in the preservation of cultural identity. As a nation in waiting, an expression of Palestinian culture preserves not only their history but, also guarantees their future identity” adds CAFAM Director, Maryna Hrushetska.

The exhibition co-curated by Hanan Munayyer and INAASH opens on July 16, 2006 and runs until October 17, 2006. An opening reception for members and VIP guests will be held on July 15th. This exhibition is funded by Folk Art Council of the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Ibrahim AlHusseini, in honor of his father, Ameen AlHusseini and the City Of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Craft and Folk Art Museum:

The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is a Los Angeles nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to the public presentation and preservation of folk arts and contemporary craft. Founded in 1965, originally as “The Egg and The Eye” by the late Edith Wyle, who passionately promoted traditional artisans and the virtue of handmade art the Museum opened in 1974. As a local Museum with global reach, CAFAM seeks to promote international goodwill and global understanding among its citizens. The Museum works to preserve and strengthen the folk culture of our community based on its believe that the quality of urban life is directly related to the vitality and diversity of viewpoints and traditions.

High and low-resolution digital images are available upon request.

Museum Information:

Craft and Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 Information: 323-937-4230 / Museum Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 11 am – 5 pm Thursday 11 am – 7 pm Saturday and Sunday 12 – 6 pm Museum Admission: General $5.00 / Students and Seniors 3.00 / Members and Children under 12 Free / Free 1st Wednesday of month


PHF Sponsors Special Event to Introduce American Task Force on Palestine

On Sunday, December 4, 2005 the Palestinian Heritage Foundation held an introductory afternoon to introduce the Washington based American Task Force on Palestine to the New Jersey American-Arab community. Several of the ATFP Board members, including Ziad Asali, MD, President, Mrs. Naila Asali co-founder and Board member, Ra’fat Dajani, Executive Director, Hussein Ibish, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Hala Maksoud Foundation attended this special event. Other Board members present were Ameen Stetieh of Washington DC, Saliba Sarsar, Tawfiq Barqawi and Farah Munayyer of New Jersey. About 100 people participated  in this historic gathering.

PHF special guests to the evening were, his Excellency Afif Safieh, Head of Palestine Mission to the United States and Mrs. Crystal Safieh, and his Excellency Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations in New York.

Farah Munayyer co founder and Vice President of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation MCd the event that lasted for three hours.


Nativity Scene at Antiochian Village for Second Year

On Thursday, December 29, 2005 the Heritage Museum at Antiochian Village near Ligonier, Pennsylvania opened its doors during Orthodox Fellowship Week for guided tours. Nearly 30 college students chose to visit “Threads of Tradition: Palestinian Traditional Costumes” where they were able to view the incredible textiles and discuss the art and culture with Museum Curator, Shirley Iscrupe. The 35 minute videotape “Palestinian Costumes and Embroidery: A Precious Legacy”, was also made available for viewing in the Ajjar Auditorium just off the museum lobby.

In addition, conference attendees could view the Nativity Scene in the Museum Rotunda, and look through the glass walls at the lighted display area. The Nativity Scene included men with Palestinian garb and a woman with Palestinian embroidered thob along with sheep.


The Crosbys Donate Second Antique Palestinian Dress to PHF

On Saturday, February 11, 2006 PHF received a phone call from Dr. Elise Crosby of Arlington, Wyoming informing the Foundation that her mother-in-law Mrs. Martha Mullin of Los Angeles had  recently passed away and that Dr. Crosby had found a second Palestinian embroidered dress in Mrs. Mullin’s apartment. This second dress, a Bethlehem Malak or royal, was also purchased  from the collection of Bertha Spafford Vester at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem during Mrs. Mullin’s trip to Palestine in 1966.

Many years back Mrs. Mullin decided to give her daughter-in-law, Dr. Elise Crosby one of the dresses as a gift. Dr. Crosby kept the dress for years until she donated it to the Foundation in 2004. At the time Dr. Crosby was not aware that her mother-in-law had purchased a second dress while visiting Palestine in the mid sixties. After passing away to her Lord in CA, the Crosbys found the second embroidered costume in Mrs. Mullin’s home and decided to donate it to PHF.   

We at PHF would like to thank Dr. Crosby for her generosity and we promise to keep Mrs. Martha Mullin’s name alive each time we display these two unique museum quality Palestinian  dresses.

This Bethlehem Malak of 1910 to 1920, is donated by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Crosby in memory of Mrs. Martha Mullin who loved Palestine.

Malak or Royal dress donated in memory of Mrs. Martha Mullin.

Below article published in PHF Newsletter of June 2004.

The Crosbys Donate Antique Palestinian Dress to PHF

On April 23, 1997 Dr. Elise Crosby of Arlington, Wyoming, wrote to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation about an antique Palestinian dress given to her by her mother-in-law, Mrs. Martha Mullin. Along with the letter Dr. Crosby included photos of the dress to help in evaluating its historical value. At the time, Dr. Crosby considered donating the dress to the Foundation at a future date.

On January 26, 2004, Dr. Elise Crosby contacted PHF with good news. She wrote “It is with pleasure that we donate this dress to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. It was purchased in 1966 by Mrs. Martha Mullin of Los Angeles, from the collection of Bertha Spafford Vester at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, Palestine. The Crosbys are delighted to return this dress to the Palestinian people.”                        

Dr. Elise Crosby received her Ph.D. in Arabic from the Department of Near Eastern Languages  Yale University in 1987. Mr. Taylor Crosby received an M.A. in Arabic from UCLA in 1977, and a Master’s degree in public and private management from Yale University in 1979. Mr. Crosby has spent most of his professional career in Human Resources Development and Training in Yemen, Egypt, Oman and Kuwait.

In a response letter sent in 1997 by Shelagh Weir, former curator of the Middle Eastern Department at the London Museum of Mankind to the Crosbys, Shelagh described the dress: “it is from the villages in the Hebron Hills or the southeast coastal plain. Since it was from the collection of Bertha Vester, it is certainly a museum piece. Yes, I certainly think it deserves to be in a museum collection, and since we have several similar pieces, I suggest that you might like to approach a private Palestinian foundation in the States who are enthusiastically building up a collection of their national costumes, and seem to be doing a very good job of getting them exhibited in various parts of the U.S. The person to write to is Farah Munayyer, Palestinian Heritage Foundation, West Caldwell, New Jersey 07006.

The Foundation would like to thank Elise and Taylor Crosby for their generosity and Shelagh Weir who visited the Foundation in 1996, for everything she has done on behalf of the Palestinian art of embroidery project.


Munayyers Adds Oldest Bethlehem “Malak” dress to Collection

The Munayyers have just added to its unique collection what is being considered the oldest dress from the Bethlehem area in its possession. The multi color fabric with a very simple chest piece was originally bought from E-Bay by a friend of PHF who was kind and generous to exchange it for an embroidered dress offered from the Munayyer Collection.


In the Mail:

Hi Farah,

Happy New Year! Finally got to Bolivar to see the exhibit; and are very glad we did. I loved the clothes and my husband liked the artifacts (furniture, trays, etc). Can’t imagine the time spent making these gorgeously decorated clothes.

Georgia Wallar, New Jersey


My dear Friends,

I am happy, proud and grateful. Many many thanks for your work and achievements and for sending me news. CONGRATULATIONS! always.

I hope to see the exhibit. I am sure it is an event not to miss. Maybe we could organize a group from here to make the trip.


Diana Washington DC


I am very interested in purchasing a copy of the video on Palestinian costume. It would be a strong support for my historical research in the fabrics and costumes of Palestine. Could you please let me know how I can order a copy? I have book marked the website for future reference. Thank you for your support and suggestions!

Professor Rory Scanlon  Arts and Communications


Dear Farah,

I checked your website, and was very impressed with it, especially the exhibit section. Your collection keeps growing every time I check it out on-line: congratulations. You are doing an outstanding job of preserving Palestinian culture and disseminating information about it.

Looking forward to the LA exhibit.


I used your site for a project for school. This site is awesome, and I love it. I got all my information from here. I didn’t have to go anywhere else. It was so easy to get information.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!


Palestinian Costumes & Embroidery: A Precious Legacy

A Video Review By Shira

For the video review by Shira click the link below: