The first textile mill in the Balkan peninsula was built in 1834 at Sliven by Dobri Jeliazkov (or Zhelyazkovac), who, with many other citizens of the town, had fled to Russia during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1828-29. During his exile he gained acquaintance with mechanised methods of textile production and set up a woollen cloth factory on his return. In 1836 he gained the support of the Ottoman Emperor and his enterprise came to be called the state broadcloth company. Other companies were established and Sliven became a centre of textile production, as it still is.
The museum was established in 1984 in a textile school built in the grounds of Jeliazkov’s factory in 1906. Its displays show the development of textile technology from prehistoric times, and include spinning mules and interactive weaving exhibits. The museum includes a demonstration centre for textile crafts. It is highly regarded by the modern textile industry and is frequently visited by delegates to conferences.