Very little is currently understood about how attitudes alter towards garments as they leave the realm of consumption and become museum items. And whilst luxurious and elite fashion is a common feature of many local and national museum costume collections, collections of ‘everyday’ clothing (as worn by working-and-lower-middle-class women) are rare.
Walsall Museum’s Hodson Shop Collection provides an ideal starting point for investigating attitudes towards everyday clothing in museums. It also raises interesting questions around curatorial practices and attitudes regarding unworn clothing.
Over the three year course of this project, researcher Jenny Evans aims to understand how unworn, non-elite dress is defined, interpreted and exhibited in museum spaces – from the store to the gallery and online.