Students from Kenisha Kelly’s Drama class “History of Fashion for the Stage” had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Drama Department’s collection of historic clothing. To begin, historic collection Co-Curators Holly Hummel (Faculty Emeritus) and Arden Kirkland (Costumer for the Drama Department) introduced the class to the collection. Then the class was broken into four smaller groups, and each group focused on studying one object from the collection. Then the class was re-grouped, mixing from the previous groups, so that each student could view all of the objects on display and learn from the other students who had studied each garment in greater depth.
For this exercise, the objects were flat on the table, so that students could examine them inside and out. After asking them to try to imagine what the garments would look like on a body, Arden provided photographs of the garments on mannequins, so that the students could see the silhouette on a body.
This was a very busy year for the VCCC, and it looks like 2010 will be just as busy! Here are some highlights from this past year:
• Digital Objects in the Classroom (DOC)– Our team at Vassar College received a grant from NITLE to host a workshop, on March 16-17, 2009, to explore the subject of digitizing material culture collections for classroom use. Teams of faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and media specialists came from institutions across the country to participate. For more information, see http://grou.ps/digitalobjects
• NERCOMP workshop – On May 19, our DOC team traveled to MA to make presentations for a workshop for the NorthEast Regional Computing Program, also about digitizing material culture for classroom use.
• Care of Textiles class – in May, Co-Curator Arden Kirkland took an online course offered by the Northern States Conservation Center, to learn more about taking care of textile collections. As a result, we’ve identified some important changes we need to make in our storage area, for the preservation of the objects. Our NEH grant will cover some of these improvements, but it is likely that we’ll need to seek more support for the continued maintenance of the collection
• Trying on History –In May, we hosted the Project Aware group (11-18 year old girls from Beacon), to look at historic objects and try on reproductions. Then in October, two Vassar classes came to do this activity. Throughout the year, we continued our reproduction project, generously funded by the Carolyn Grant ’36 Endowment Fund.