The cultivation and processing of silk has always been of importance in the Caucasus region. The silk museum in Tbilisi is part of the Caucasian Sericulturure Station, established in 1887 by Nikolay Shavrov (1858-1915) of the Moscow Agricultural Imperial Society, who gained experience of the silk industry all over Europe during a tour in 1884-86. Amongst other activities the Institute undertook studies to determine the best mulberry seeds for Georgian silk producers. By 1930 it incorporated the museum, a library and was called the Transcaucasian Institute of Sericulture and Silk Production. Its future seemed uncertain in the 1980s but it was taken over by a government department in 1988, saved from closure, and re-gained its independence in 2006. The objective of the museum is to promote understanding and appreciation of silk, its production and use through exhibitions and educational programmes. It remains in the distinguished building that was once an imperial research centre. It has large collections of mulberry trees, live silkworms and cocoons, as well as samples that are displayed in traditional glass cases.