The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and Historic Deerfield (HD), two history and decorative arts museums located in Massachusetts, began collecting historic, fashionable Western dress during the 20th century. What each museum acquired was shaped by contemporary collecting practices and cultural values in America, as well as the personal choices of institutional founders, curators, and museum directors. An historic view of the world and different cultures through a European-American lens significantly shaped those efforts. Though at times narrow in their scope, the results yielded amazing and interesting examples of dress as material culture.
Join the Peabody Essex Museum’s Petra Slinkard, Director of Curatorial Affairs and The Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles, and David E. Lazaro, Historic Deerfield’s Curator of Textiles, on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7pm for a free virtual illustrated conversation on collecting and interpreting dress today through the lens of their respective institutions. The lecture is sponsored through the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Bridge Street Fund. Both museums, while geographically close, experienced similar trajectories as they collected clothing in the 20th century. Today, the two institutions aim to move forward with a more global and inclusive eye. The curators will discuss their respective institutions’ histories of collecting fashion, and how they explore new directions and challenges in the 21st century.