Welcome to the Kent State University Museum, home of extraordinary collections of historic dress, fashion, textiles, and decorative arts. Here you will find works by many of the world’s great artists and designers, known and unknown, from across time and continents.
The Museum was founded in 1982 alongside the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, and offers invaluable first-hand experiences for all students, faculty and staff at Kent State University. The Museum also serves the culturally rich communities of Northeastern Ohio as well as global audiences through the loan of objects to museums, scholarly research, and traveling exhibitions from the distinguished collection.
Forever Chanel: Coco + Karl is now OPEN!
We live in a world where fashion, celebrity and personality are inextricably intertwined and elevated to heights of global phenomena. A singular name — Cher, Madonna, Naomi or even Bernie — denotes an immediate and comprehensive image of personae, values and impact. The name Chanel has endured for over 100 years: What does that tell us about the House of Chanel and what does that reveal about us?
See What's New! Recent Acquisitions through Aug. 8
During the past decade, the Kent State University Museum has continued to build our world class collection of fashions and textiles. Because the permanent collection now includes nearly 30,000 objects, we must be selective about what we can accept. The array of pieces on display in this exhibition highlight the Museum’s priority to broaden the diversity of makers and designs in the collection and to augment important areas where we have little or no representation.
TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair opens Sept. 10
TEXTURES synthesizes research in history, fashion, art, and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of peoples of African descent. Long a fraught topic for African Americans and others in the diaspora, Black hair is here addressed by artists, barbers, and activists in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today. Combs, products, and implements from the collection of hair pioneer Willie Morrow are paired here with masterworks from artists including James Van Der Zee, Sonya Clark, Lorna Simpson, Mary Sibande and Zanele Muholi.
Join us for a conversation with Conservator Howard Sutcliffe on Sept. 30
Renown Conservator, Howard Sutcliffe, will describe his work on three Museum garments for the current exhibition Forever Chanel: Coco + Karl, as well as other recent adventures in conservation. The conservator, who cares for and often stabilizes and saves artifacts, textiles and garments from ruin, is a remarkable combination of historian, scientist, aritst and dare we say alchemist.
This special event is made possible by the Jean Druesedow Endowed Fund for Costume and Textile Conservation, sponsored by Christopher P. Sullivan, M.D.
See Stitched: Regional Dress Across Europe through Dec. 19
Drawing from the rich collection of Kent State University Museum, this exhibition showcases common features shared by regional costume across Europe. In its original context in villages, regional dress carefully marked social and cultural differences. Religious affiliation, gender, age, and marital status were all instantly recognizable at a glance by members of the community. A person’s outfit signaled which village or region they came from. Focusing on these signs of difference obscures the common vocabulary that rural residents across Europe used to shape their clothing.