Drying to Know will focus on informative and instructional tea towels to highlight how the kitchen staple can be used as a communication tool.
Art fans will be encouraged to view the humble tea towel as a work of art, form of advertising, instructional guide and a "celebration of all things British".
The two-week exhibition will be held at Bath Spa University's 160-year-old Bath School of Art and Design campus and features tea towels listing wedding anniversary designations, Scottish clans and food advice.
Amanda Goode, course leader of the Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors course at the university, said: "The tea towel collection is not only an anthropological exploration of British life and culture, it also strongly reflects the technological changes in textile printing methods in the UK.
"The changes in design from the 50s through to the 80s as well as the development of digital technologies has meant this everyday object can be more than just a tea towel, it can effectively reflect class and cultural aspirations."
The opening night of Drying to Know takes place from 4.30pm on Friday, with a performance by seven-piece band Police Dog Hogan.
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