The Textile and Clothing Museum Offers More than Just Historic Fashion

Diversity and Social Responsibility News Student News

Iowa State University’s Textiles and Clothing Museum is a collection of over 8,500 pieces dating back to the eighteenth century. The museum serves as a resource for students’ studies and provides appreciation and preservation for the history of fashion.

Part of the Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management Department, the museum’s curator and director, Kelly Reddy-Best, is also an associate professor in apparel merchandising and design.

“We have women’s blouses from the 19th century. We have shoes ranging from many different time periods. We have accessories for both men and women. Primarily American examples, but we also have examples from around the globe,” said Reddy-Best.

The museum serves Iowa State students in multiple ways by offering courses that utilize the collection, such as draping, product development, digital printing and patternmaking. 

Not only does the museum further students’ education, it offers many ways for students to explore their potential and is a resource to expand what we know about social justice. The museum is also a key part of Iowa State’s minor in fashion, culture, history and social justice.

Reddy-Best shared that both undergraduate and graduate students often curate their own exhibitions from the initial idea to the final exhibition and installation. And, even though the museum is primarily on campus for students, it’s also open to the public.

“We will often have community members come in for tours,” said Reddy-Best. “They visit the collection or archive and many stop in to learn about current exhibitions curated by our students. Our student curators also typically give tours.”

The diversity included in the museum is substantial, and one is guaranteed to get a taste of everything during their visit. Check the museum website for the most up-to-date hours and a listing of current exhibitions.