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Dress as Multi-Dimensional Cultural Documents

The garments on display in this exhibit represent clothing identified with the various ethnic groups represented in the U.S.  By examining the relationship between ethnicity with dress, viewers 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. Viewers will also be introduced to the technical study and professional practice of clothing and textiles presented in the conservation projects of our students.

This exhibition could not have been created without the help of  the URI Center for the Humanities for the grant that supported the installation of this  exhibition. Thanks also to the URI Alumni Association for their support.

Quinn Hall Gallery open Monday - Friday, 10 - 4

Recent Exhibit 

"One American Family - A Tale of North and South"

This exhibit focused on the Cushman Collection at the URI Historic Textile and Costume Collection, exploring the complexities of social, economic and industrial relationships between the peoples of northern and southern states prior to the Civil War. Through material culture analyses, the visitor  gained greater insight into the lives of antebellum America.

Inspiration for this exhibit came from two areas - the rich culture reflected in the large donation given to URI by Franklin Cushman and his siblings in 1952, and by Rachel May from her book "An American Family. Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery." Dr. May's extensive research began when she was shown a set of three incomplete quilts from the Cushman family. Her book probes the human relationships between the cotton fields of the South and the textile mills of New England.

April 22 - December 6, 2019.


Previous Exhibits

“Feminism and Fashion of the Twentieth Century”    2018

“125th anniversary of the founding of URI”     2016

“Director’s Choice from the Historic Textile and Costume Collection”    2015

“The Rise of the Readymade Apparel Industry”     2014

“The Other White Dress”     2014

“I Do. Wedding Fashion 1749 to 1975”     2013

“From Kitchen to Kitsch: Aprons from the Seventeenth Century to the Present”     2011/2012

“Heritage Preserved: Five Rhode Island Families”     2010

“Elephants, Paisleys, and Plaids: Indian Influence on Western Textile Design”    2009

“Reflections of Modernism: Textiles from the Tirocchi Dressmakers’ Shop, 1915-1947”   2008

“Keep Me Warm”     2008

“China: the Power of Design”     2007

“Fashion with a Flourish: Embellishments From 1850-1940”     2007

“Undress: At-Home Wear Through the Centuries”     2006

“These are a few of my favorite things”  Faculty and Staff Choices     2006

“Purple: Celebrating 150 Years of Synthetic Dyes”     2006

“Nature’s Dyes: Clothing and Textiles From Around the Globe”     2005/2006

“History in Stitches. Six Centuries of Embroidery”     2005

“At the Crossing: Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts and the Intersection of Cultures”     2004

“American Woven “Coverlids” Coverlets from the Historic Textile and Costume Collection"     2004

“What We Wore: Clothing from 1976-79”     2003

“Lace: the Elegant Fabric”     2003

“From Exotica into Americana”     2003

“Dan Cooper”     2002

“Silk”     2001

"Geometrics in Fashion: Art Deco Influence on Textile and Apparel Design"     2001

“Tissues of Dreams: Dressmaker Patterns”     1999

“Threads of History”     Inaugural Exhibit 1999