"Fashioning an Education: 150 Years of Vassar Students and What They Wore" will be on view at the Palmer Gallery, May 16 to June 12, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Fashioning an Education:  150 Years of Vassar Students and What They Wore, will showcase examples of student clothing from the 1860s through the 1950s and will offer photographs of student styles from the 1960s through today's fashions. Celebrating Vassar's 150th anniversary, the clothing will be drawn from the Vassar College Costume Collection. Vassar students and faculty will share research about the complex role that education has played in influencing fashion. The exhibition will be on view in the James W. Palmer III Gallery from May 16 to June 12, 2011. Free and open to the public, there is an opening reception on Monday, May 16, from 4:00 to 6:00pm. The exhibition will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00pm, with additional times on May 17 and May 18 from 1:00 to 4:00pm, May 22 from 12:00 to 3:00pm, and June 12 from 11:00 to 2:00pm, as well as by appointment by calling 437-5250. 

The Vassar College Costume Collection (VCCC) is a collection of over 500 examples of original historic clothing, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The collection is maintained as a research collection within the costume shop of the Vassar Drama Department. Although most items have been donated over the years, by alumnae and their families, to be used as costumes in theatrical productions, these objects have been kept separate from the theatrical costume stock in order to conserve them for research purposes. As most donated items come from Vassar alumnae or other members of the Vassar community, they speak not only to the history of fashion, but also to Vassar’s history, and to the history of women’s education. 

Several students have been working on independent research to relate the objects from the collection to Vassar's history. In preparation for this exhibition, they have had hands-on experience with museum quality objects and have learned best practices for proper handling of costume objects, assessment and documentation of their condition, museum cataloging procedures, and stabilization and mounting techniques to conserve and safely display the objects. By comparing and contrasting garments from throughout the college's history, they have gained a deeper understanding of the significance of education, particularly education for women, and its impact on all other aspects of life.

Photographs and other information about the exhibition are available at

About the James W. Palmer III Gallery

Situated between the North Atrium and the Retreat cafeteria, the James W. Palmer III Gallery is at the heart of the College Center. Constructed in 1996, the gallery was named and endowed by the Palmer family in 2000 in memory of their son James, a member of the class of 1990. Serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the Vassar community, the gallery displays art of diverse mediums, themes, and origins.  

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at  

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, May 10, 2011