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          Digital Collections of Extant Costumes

          This directory lists online collections of extant (ie surviving) historical costume, generally in museums.

          It replaces the “Real Women’s Clothing” directory; happily and unhappily, it has gotten to the point where there are so many extensive costume collections online that I can no longer keep up with updating that directory.? I will leave the old version of the Real Women’s Clothing directory online, but it will no longer be updated.

          If you know of any museum websites or collections databases that include extant costumes, please email me or comment below!

          I have assumed that most who use this page will be English speakers.? If you need translation help, I recommend Google Translate.? If you speak another language, you can ignore the translation advice and (if possible) switch to the original language interface of the website.

          * = new listing

          # = repaired link


          Europeana — cross-museum search:

          • Collection database — I recommend trying search in both English and other European languages.? So far, I’m not too impressed by the “narrow by date” feature — I suggest searching by century, and again, try it in English and other languages (examples:? 18th; 18e; settecento, etc.).
          Europeana Fashion — cross-museum search:
          • Collection database – searching in English seems to do the trick, but I recommend also trying other European languages. ?This database is brand new, so right now your only option is a keyword search — there’s no ability to filter or specify dates.


          Australian Dress Register — cross-museum search

          National Gallery of Australia

          Powerhouse Museum


          Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

          ?sterreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst

          Universit?t für Angewandte Kunst Wien

          Wien Museum


          Mode Museum

          Musea Oost-Vlaanderen in Evolutie

          • Collection database — try searching “kostuums” to see all the costume items, then on the search results page click “objecten met foto” to see only those with images

          Musée du Costume et la Dentelle

          Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage


          Canadian Museum of Civilization & Canadian War Museum

          Musée du Costume et du Textile du Québec

          Musée McCord Museum

          Royal Ontario Museum

          University of Alberta

          Western Development Museum


          Museo de la Moda


          Museum of Arts & Crafts


          Cross-museum search

          Muzeum ve Skutci


          Kulturhistorisk Museum Randers



          Helsinki University Museum

          • Collection highlights – unfortunately the image links aren’t working right now, hopefully they’ll fix them?



          Cross-Museum – art from French museums

          • Collection database – to search specifically for costume:? use the advanced search. 1) Type “Costume” in the “Domaine” box and click on “Index,” select “COSTUME – ACCESSOIRES DU COSTUME.” 2) In “Type d’Objet,” type the name of the garment you are trying to locate (e.g., “Robe”) and click on “Index,” select the type. 3) Optional – enter a century as “##E SIECLE” (e.g., “17E SIECLE” = 17th century). 4) Check off “Avec Image.”

          Cross-Museum – art from Parisian museums

          Musée Galliera

          Musée des Tissus

          Musée National du Chateau de Malmaison

          Musée de la Toile de Jouy

          Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs


          Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe

          Bayerisches National Museum

          Deutches Historiches Museum

          • Collection higlights
          • Collection database – search by keyword in the “Suche uber alle Felder wortweise” box. To browse: in the Objektart box, type in “Kleidung” (clothing); use “Datierung” to specify dates.

          Deutsches Ledermuseum, Offenbach

          Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld

          Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg

          Landesmuseum Württemberg

          Modemuseum in Schloss Ludwigsburg

          Museen Nord – Museums in Schleswig-Holstein & Hamburg

          Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

          Staaliche Museen zu Berlin

          Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha


          Kyoto Costume Institute

          Bunka Costume Museum


          Abiti Antichi (private collection?)

          Banca dati di Immagini per la Didattica (cross-museum search)

          Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia (cross-museum search for Venetian museums)

          • Collection database – interface is in English, but records (and therefore search terms!) are in Italian

          Museo del Costume Raffaello Piraino

          • Collection highlights – in Italian.? Choose a type of costume (feminine, masculine, etc.), then look on the bottom left for links to browse items.

          Museo del Tessuto

          Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo

          • Collection highlights – in Italian.? Browse by room to see collection highlights, some of which include costume.

          Museo di Roma

          Tirelli Costumi


          Museo de Historia Mexicana


          Centraal Museum

          Fries Museum Leeuwarden

          Gemeente Museum Den Haag


          • Collection database – even though it appears to be in English, you must search using Dutch terms.? Search by item name, or use the general “kleding” to search for all costume.? The Period search doesn’t appear to work correctly, but once you’ve run your search you can use the “Refine Query” options on the right to narrow by period, location, material, etc.
          • Digital exhibition (“Accessorize, 1550-1950″)

          NEW ZEALAND

          Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

          Whanganui Regional Museum


          Centralne Muzeum Wlókiennictwa

          Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie


          Cross-Museum Search


          State Hermitage Museum

          • Collection database. TO BROWSE BY COUNTRY:? choose the “Costume” category, then follow the prompts to browse by country.? TO DO MORE COMPLICATED SEARCHES:? choose “Advanced Search” (on the right), then choose “Costume” as a category, then choose the options you like.


          Centre de Documentació i Museu Tèxtil de Terrassa

          Museo Nacional de Céramica y Artes Suntuarias

          • Collection database – in Spanish.? Search using “indumentaria” to see all costume items (there aren’t too many).

          Museo San Telmo Museoa

          Museo del Traje

          Museu Textil i d’Indumentaria

          Cross-museum search – textiles & apparel

          • Collection database — click on “SEARCH,” and then use the helpful pull-downs at the top of the page.
          Museums of Aragon


          Cross-Museum Search

          • Collection database – some of the interface is in English, but you need to search in Swedish!
          Cross-Museum Search:?Livrustkammarens, Skoklosters Castle, and Hallwylska Museums

          G?teborgs Museum


          Nordiska Museet


          Historisches Museum Basel

          Musee Suisse de la Mode

          Schweizerisches Landesmuseen

          • Collection database – choose your preferred language on the top left (German, French, or Italian), then Collections (“Sammlungen,” “Collections,” or “Collezioni”), then Costume (“Textilien/Kostume,” “Textiles/Costumes,” or “Tessili/Costumi”), then choose Show Objects from this Collection (“Objekte aus diesem Ressort anzeigen,” “Montrer les objets de cette section,” or “Mostrare gli oggetti di questa sezione”)? (on right).


          Bassetlaw Museum

          Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery

          Bowes Museum

          Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

          Bristol City Museums

          Bront? Parsonage Museum

          Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

          Corinium Museum

          Cowper and Newton Museum

          Elmbridge Museum

          • Collection database – search by item name in the top right search box; don’t use Advanced Search, it has un-useful options.

          Fashion Museum

          • Collection database – search by item name, or use the “Detailed Search” options to get more specific.

          Glasgow Museums

          Hampshire Museums

          Historic Royal Palaces

          Kent Costume Trust

          Lawrence House Museum

          Leeds Museums & Galleries

          Leicestershire County Council Museums Service

          London Foundling Hospital

          Manchester Galleries

          Moyse’s Hall Museum

          Museum of London

          National Museums of Scotland

          National Trust

          Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

          Petersfield Museum

          Royal Albert Memorial Museum

          • Collection highlights
          • Collection database – okay, this database is WEIRD. ?The only way I’ve found to find all of the costume items is to search by material (ie silk, linen, cotton). ?Seriously. ?Searches for things like “dress,” “costume,” “clothing,” etc. do not bring up all the relevant items.

          Royal Collection

          • Collection database – browse by choosing “object categories” and then “textiles and fans,” or search using the top right search box.

          Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museums

          Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

          University of Manchester

          Victoria & Albert Museum

          Warwickshire Museum

          York Castle Museum


          American Textile History Museum

          Beverley Birks Vintage Haute Couture Collection

          Chicago History Museum

          Cincinnati Art Museum

          • Collection database – browse by choosing “Costume & Textiles” on the left, or search using the box on the right.

          Colonial Williamsburg

          Columbia College Chicago – Fashion Columbia Study Collection

          • Collection database – browse by choosing women/men/ethnic on the right, or search using “advanced search.”

          Connecticut – Cross-Museum Search

          Connecticut Historical Society

          Cooper-Hewitt Museum

          Costar Vintage Clothing and Costume Archive

          Darien Historical Society

          Detroit Historical Museum

          Drexel University Historic Costume Collection

          Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

          Fashion Institute of Technology

          Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

          Henry Ford Historic Costume Collection

          Historic New England

          Indiana State Museum

          Indianapolis Museum of Art

          Kansas State Historical Society

          Kent State University Museum

          Litchfield Historical Society

          Los Angeles County Museum of Art

          Memorial Hall Museum

          Metropolitan Museum of Art

          Mint Museum of Art

          Missouri Historical Society

          Museum of the City of New York

          Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)

          New Jersey Historical Society

          North Dakota State University

          Ohio State University Historic Costume & Textiles Collection

          Old State House Museum

          Old Sturbridge Village

          Philadelphia Museum of Art

          Phoenix Art Museum

          Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art

          San Diego Historical Society

          Shelburne Museum

          Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History

          Staten Island Historical Society

          University of New Hampshire Museum

          • Past exhibition (“Tailored to Teach: Highlights from the Irma Bowen Textile Collection”)

          University of North Carolina

          University of Virginia

          Winterthur Museum


        1. Reply Joseph Hisey June 17, 2011 at 8:07 am

          I am organizing a textile tour to U.K. for 2012. Your site has been of enormous value. Thank you so much.


        2. Reply Dawn December 17, 2011 at 4:52 am


        3. Reply Puttin’ on the Met’s. | The Trove Rove. July 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm

          […] If doing the legwork ain’t that bad, there are many museums?around the world hosting online costume collections. Afternoon Dress by Paul Poiret. 1923. Retrieved from: […]

        4. Leave a Reply