Closet to Collection: How Museums Build Their Costume and Fashion Collections
By: Nicole Mari Ogino
Published: 2017
Uploaded: 03/27/2017
Uploaded by: Arts Administration Program
Pockets: Arts Administration Program Theses (Permission Required), Development, Philanthropy, Visual Arts, Museums, Crafts, Arts Administration: General
Tags: collection-building, Costume, donors, Fashion, museums

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Description/Abstract: With the increase in blockbuster fashion exhibitions and public acceptance of fashion as art along with significant scholarly work on the subject matter, museum professionals must now address the shift in donor giving and the way that they build their costume and fashion collections. This research explores the intersection of fashion exhibitions’ popularity, collection-building processes of museums, and the role that individual donors have in museum collection-building processes. Qualitative data was collected in the form of phone and e-mail interviews with museum professionals and utilized to answer the following questions. First, how do museums currently build their costume collections? Second, what is the role of donors in the collection-building process? Finally, how does fashion exhibitions’ newfound popularity affect museums’ collection-building processes? This research discovered that museums are experiencing changes regarding how they build their collections due to this increased interest in fashion exhibitions. One finding is that the value of fashion and costume pieces has appreciated, making it more difficult for museums to purchase pieces and driving them to be more reliant on individual donors. Another finding is that donors are inspired to donate following a successful fashion exhibition, therefore offering to donate pieces similar to what they saw in a recent exhibition. The implications of these findings reveal that arts administrators must shift their donor cultivation strategies to accommodate the shifting fashion collection-building landscape.