Over 50,000 Costume and Textile Artifacts
The costume and textile collection at the Museum spans the breadth of Chicago's history and is particularly strong in materials from the late 19th century to the present. The Museum's extensive designer collection, ranging from Charles Worth gowns to the innovative designs of Yohji Yamamoto, has earned an international reputation.
Made in Chicago
Many artifacts in the Museum's collection were made by Chicago's dressmakers, milliners, and manufacturers. Future collecting will also focus on Chicago's once-thriving garment industry.
From George Washington to Michael Jordan
The costume collection has a number of items worn by prominent Chicagoans and Americans. These include objects belonging to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Michael Jordan's basketball uniform, and Mahalia Jackson's choir robe. The earliest pieces include suits worn by George Washington and John Adams.
Clothing as Historical Artifact
New emphasis on the significance of clothing as historical artifacts has increased interest in the collection. Recent acquisitions include clothing documenting 19th- and 20th-century work attire, such as uniforms of nurses, police officers, flight attendants, and a bell hop, as well as clothing from Chicago's immigrant communities.