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EXHIBIT REVIEW – Fashion Timeline

Fashion Timeline is unique among museum exhibits. It is designed to be permanent, yet ever changing. While the basic format of the exhibit remains the same, the curator swaps out pieces from the same era to make the exhibit both a touchstone and a fresh look at the collection.

Kent State University Museum features one of the best collections of fashion in the country. With more than 40,000 pieces to choose from, the museum staff could provide endless variations on the Fashion Timeline theme.

The exhibit is designed to showcase the evolution of fashion over time, with a timeline of world events placed behind the mannequins in the galleries. The exhibit begins in the late 18th century and moves through the mid-20th century.

The mannequins are not displayed with hats, shoes, or jewelry. Small cases in a hallway adjacent to the gallery feature highlights from the museum’s collection of accessories. The end result is not as complete or organized as the exhibition itself, however.

Fashion Timeline is truly eye candy for the fashion history enthusiast! Each piece is exquisitely made, and displayed perfectly on well-fitted mannequins, many with paper wigs in an appropriate style for his or her era.

Kent State University Museum opened in 1985. The collection was built upon the original donation of 4000 costumes and accessories from Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers, New York dress manufacturers. Over time, the collection has grown to more than 40,000 pieces, encompassing 200 years of fashion.

The Museum’s collection includes pieces from top fashion designers, such as Chanel, Yves Saint Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta. In 2008 the museum received a collection of movie costumes and personal fashions from Katharine Hepburn’s private collection.

Past exhibits at the Kent State University Museum have featured embroidery, hats, Japanese obi, lace, coverlets, bridal fashion, Civil War gowns, and beach costumes. The Museum is located on the main campus of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.

The writer visited Kent State University Museum as part of her job as a museum curator. Because she had an appointment with a staff member, she was not charged admission to view the galleries in the museum.

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