Exhibition at The Museum of Vancouver – Dressed for History: Why Costume Collections Matter


Exhibit on display from March 16, 2023 – December 3, 2023

Clothing is the most personal of artefacts. It reveals so much about who we are, what we do and what we value. Clothing conveys information about occupation, social and economic status, gender and cultural identity and political and religious affiliation.   

Four remarkable historical costume collectors have recognized the importance of preserving costumes to document the past and inspire our present and future. Ivan Sayers, Claus Jahnke, Melanie Talkington and the members of the BC Society for the Museum of Original Costume (SMOC) are fashion historians with significant collections that feature some of the rarest garments and fabrics in the world. 

The Museum of Vancouver has invited these collectors to share their deep knowledge of costume history by showcasing pieces from their collections. Dressed for History: Why Costume Collections Matter makes the case that fashion and costumes are significant and enduring expressions of personal identity and of political and social change. This exhibition confirms Vancouver as home to world-class costume interpreters, collectors and historians.