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.
See Stitched: Regional Dress Across Europe through Jan. 30
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.
Join us for The Fruits of Empire: What Food in Art Tells Us about Race and Society, Nov. 4 at 6pm
We welcome Assistant Professor Shana Klein of the KSU School of Art to present a talk highlighting the content in her recently published book: “The Fruits of Empire: Art, Food, and the Politics of Race in the Age of American Expansion.” Klein studies food in the decades after the Civil War, when Americans consumed an unprecedented amount of fruit due to advancements in refrigeration and transportation.
TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair is NOW OPEN!
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 Texture is Nuanced: Design Vocabularies and the African Diaspora, Nov. 11 at 12pm
Art historian and curator Key Jo Lee (Cleveland Museum of Art) and TEXTURES artist Nontsikelelo Mutiti join co-curator Joseph L. Underwood in a conversation about Mutiti's recent projects in art and design, including her site-specific installation at the KSU Museum.
Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Cassamance #2, 2020
Forever Chanel: Coco + Karl, through Feb. 27, 2022
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?
What's in Your Bag?
KSU Fashion Student and Museum Intern Pierce Morgan was inspired by a purse he found in the Museum collection which had an assortment of personal items including a baby picture, Green Stamps, and a Christmas list. He was intrigued by what stories and mysteries might be held in other bags and so he curated this display that helps us imagine.
Clutch handbags and minaudières from the collection of Audrey M. Kail
This collection of handbags comes to the KSU Museum from longtime friend and supporter of the Museum, Audrey M. Kail. Mrs. Kail passed away early this year and she wanted her sparkling collection of bags by Judith Leiber and Kathrine Baumann to be shared with students and the public for years to come.