University Historic Clothing Museums and Collections: Practices and Strategies
University historic dress collections and museums provide unique opportunities to actively fulfill critical mission statements of the university, including possibilities for research projects, providing firsthand opportunities for students to view real-life objects, and outreach/service opportunities to the public. Despite the importance of collections in fulfilling university missions, research about current practices and best practices is scarce. The purpose of this study was to document practices, challenges, and opportunities for excellence experienced by university collections within the United States. To explore the topic, a qualitative methodology in which 14 curators and collection managers were interviewed was utilized. The results of this study suggest that many curators and collection managers endure many similar struggles within their departments, such as lack of financial resources, time, and support from upper administration. Yet, all of the participants stated the significant contributions and impact material culture can have on the mission of their institutions.
This is an author's final manuscript of an article from Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 29 (2011): 248–262, doi:10.1177/0887302X11419361.