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Kent State University Museum Opens Exhibit Featuring Historic Fashions in "Fashion Timeline"

Posted Jul. 20, 2012

Wedding dress, American, 1879The Kent State University Museum's newest exhibit, "Fashion Timeline," showcases the museum's world-class collection of historic fashions. The exhibit is currently available for viewing in the Palmer and Mull Galleries and will remain up until June 2013.

The first gallery spans the late-18th and early-19th centuries. This was a period of revolutionary change that can clearly be seen reflected in the fashions. The American and French Revolutions radically changed the political landscapes while the industrial revolution transformed how goods, particularly clothing and textiles, were made. The luxury and rococo excesses of the 18th century gave way to the romanticism and neoclassicism of the early 19th century.

"Encompassing two centuries of fashion history, this exhibition is designed to show the evolution of styles and silhouettes while contextualizing the pieces with relevant political, technological and cultural developments," said Sarah Hume, curator of the exhibit and for the Kent State University Museum.

The next room includes the second half of the 19th century to the dawn of World War I. Synthetic dyes opened up a world of color, and the sewing machine facilitated the application of yards of ruffles, pleats and fringe. The upholstered, heavy styles of the Victorian era eventually gave way to Edwardian froth and lace. The final room finishes the timeline with fashions of the early 20th century. While that time period may have been a period of world wars and depression, fashions also reflected the heydays of jazz and swing, the boldness of Art Deco, and the endless possibilities of technology from plastics to rockets.

Robe a la francaise and matching petticoat, French or English, ca. 1760sIn addition to the garments on view in the Palmer and Mull Galleries, an array of accessories, particularly shoes and hats, line the hallways. The silhouettes are the most obvious changes that can be seen, but there are also changes in textiles and colors. The display is intended to be a permanent feature at the museum, but the individual pieces will be rotated frequently so there is always something new to see.

Kent State University Museum is located at 515 Hilltop Drive (corner of East Main and South Lincoln streets) in Kent, Ohio. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. on Thursday; and noon to 4:45 p.m. on Sunday.

General admission is $5. Tickets for senior citizens (55+ years old) are $4. Tickets for students and children (7-18 years old) are $3. Children younger than seven years old are free. Admission to the museum is free on Sunday.

For more information about the Kent State University Museum, visit

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Photo Captions:
Photo 1: Wedding dress, American, 1879
Photo 2: Robe à la française and matching petticoat, French of English, ca. 1760s

Media Contact:
Effie Tsengas,, 330-672-8398

Images of pieces in the exhibit are available by contacting Effie Tsengas.