The Kaleidoscope of Textiles: Dress as Multidimensional Cultural Documents
"Show me the clothes of a culture and I can write its history" - Anatole France (1844-1924)
Material culture is the world of things that people – all of us – purchase and possess. Our possessions provide information about who we are and how we live. Clothing and textiles constitute the widest category of material culture rich in symbolic communication. The University of Rhode Island’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection has approximately 25,000 objects, including roughly 285 ethnic garments.
The garments in this exhibit represent clothing identified with various ethnic groups present in the United States. They represent the ethnic diversity and sociocultural richness of our population. By examining the relationship between ethnicity and dress, viewers can gain an awareness and appreciation of the kaleidoscope of ethnicity that makes up our population and conceivably the experiences of those who have immigrated to the United States.
Thanks also to the URI Alumni Foundation for their support
All photographs by Connor Steere
Faculty and staff: Jessica Strubel; Rebecca Kelly; Susan J. Jerome