The Costumes and Textile Collection, comprising about 40,000 pieces, enjoys an international reputation and is the largest collection of its kind in the South. Although the History Center's primary collecting concentration is objects related to Richmond, the costume and textile collection's focus is broader, including items worn, used, made or sold in Virginia from the 1600s to the present.
The costume segment encompasses clothing and accessories worn by Virginians of diverse social groups and all ages, for both private and public occasions; a particular strength is its date range, from a 1668 christening dress to items worn this year. The textile holdings include important groups of 18th and 19th-century quilts and samplers, as well as a wide range of domestic textiles.
Because of the size and scope of the collection, it is regarded as the unofficial costume and textile collection of Virginia. You'll see items from this collection in the Center's general history exhibitions and occasionally starring in their own temporary exhibitions, or you can make a date with history and arrange with a curator to see specific objects.
The Costumes Collection contains clothing and accessories worn by Virginians of all ages and social class for private and public occasions. Every major silhouette in women's fashion from the 1770s through the present day is found in the collection. Men's and children's clothing is also well represented from the late 18th century through the 20th century. This collection also includes accessories such as hats, shoes, gloves and purses.
The flat textile holdings include important groups of 18th and 19th century quilts, woven coverlets and embroidered samplers, as well as a wide range of household textiles.