Colorado State University’s Historic Costume and Textiles Collection Awarded Prestigious Federal Grant

Colorado State University will be able to better preserve more than 5,000 unique garments and textiles housed in its Historic Costume and Textiles Collection, thanks to a $31,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The grant will provide the collection with museum-quality storage units that will hold fragile Victorian crazy quilts, late 18th and 19th century garments, designer ball gowns and other valuable garments and flat textiles. Items from the collection are displayed frequently in the Gustafson Gallery, located in Room 145 of the Gifford Building on campus. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

"We greatly appreciate this grant as it acknowledges and gives credit to our unique collection started in the mid 1950s at Colorado State," said Linda Carlson, curator for the collection in the Department of Design and Merchandising within the College of Applied Human Sciences.

A matching gift from the estate of Virginia Webster will ensure critical conservation of the collection.

The collection is used by students and members of the public, and enables scholars to conduct research related to special interests such as textile conservation, myth vs. reality of western apparel in film, the development of suits for women and the apparel and appearance of free black women in the 19th century. The upgrades to the collection’s storage will be completed in about a year. Workshops presented by a consultant conservator will provide staff and volunteers with standard care and handling procedures.

The 1999-2000 Conservation Project Support award granted to Colorado State supports projects that help museums safeguard their collections. More than 225 applications were evaluated on their preservation standards. Seventy museums were awarded a total of $2.3 million in Conservation Project Support awards this year.

Beverly Sheppard, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, noted, "I am proud of the role IMLS plays in helping museums across the country care for their collections so that future generations may share the treasures that are our artistic, historic and scientific heritage." The Institute of Museum and Library Services is a federal grant-making agency located in Washington, D.C., that fosters leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries.

For more information about Colorado State’s Historic Costume and Textiles Collection or the Gustafson Gallery, call Carlson at (970) 491-1983.