Costumes and Textiles
The Museum's world-renowned costume and textile collection is noted both for its size and the quality of its holdings.
Costume and Textile Collection
With over 50,000 costumes and textile artifacts from the mid-18th century to the present, the Museum’s Costume Collection is the second largest in the world and one of the nation’s most complete repositories of fashion. The breadth of our collection reflects the rise of Chicago as well as the dressmakers, milliners, and manufacturers who made our city their home. Worn by former presidents and first ladies, sports stars, celebrities or everyday people, each piece is a reflection of our connection to Chicago.
Currently, the digital collection holds multiple views of nearly 400 costume and textile artifacts. Please support the Museum as we continue to digitize our collection and make it accessible to you.
Requests for information about objects in the Costume and Textile collection can be submitted online. Research inquiries by telephone are not accepted. Please complete the Object Research Inquiry Form to submit your request. You will receive a response to your inquiry from a member of the Museum’s staff within two weeks.
In-person research of objects is available by appointment only. To inquire about the availability of research appointments, complete the Object Research Inquiry Form and check the appropriate box. Please note the in-person research guidelines.
Requests for images of objects in the Costume and Textile collection can be made directly through the Rights and Reproductions Office if you have any of the following information: object accession number; creator name and title; or image reference number. If this information is not available to you, please submit an object research inquiry.
Support of the digital collection provided by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum.