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Symposium on Historical Dress: Collections, Collectors and Collaborations

November 14-16, 2024

This Symposium celebrates the connections between collections of historic clothing, their collectors and the studies made possible through the preservation and care of dress and related artifacts.

Throughout the symposium, we will be celebrating:

  • The opening of the Mary Turner and Clinton R. Gilliland Gallery at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and the inaugural exhibit, Elegance, Taste & Style: The Mary D. Doering Fashion Collection (winter 2023)
  • 90 years of historical dress and costumed interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg (1934)
  • 70 years of the Margaret Hunter Shop, which was the first curated exhibit of clothing and accessories at Colonial Williamsburg (1954)
  • And 40 years of mantua-making in the Dept. of Historic Trades (1984)

Click Here to learn more.

Call for Juried Papers

Deadline: October 15, 2023

*Please note that when we refer to historical dress it is inclusive of the entire ensemble (i.e., clothing, shoes, jewelry, etc...)

Possible avenues of explorations include, but are not limited to:

  • Stories of collectors and their journeys in building their collections
  • Curators as collectors for institutions
  • How collections of historical dress are used as resources for learning
  • Objects studied and discoveries made through the interaction between scholars and collections
  • The 21st century re-imagining of collections through technology
  • Study resulting in making and insight gained through wearing a copy of an original piece
  • Making reproductions as a form of preservation
  • Today’s challenges in representing historical dress in public and private collections (including but not limited to African American, Native American, size, gender diversity, etc.)
  • Inter-disciplinary collaborations enabling new insights
  • Relevance of historical dress collections in today’s world
  • Diversity of dress
  • Creating spaces for exhibition, interpretation, and enjoyment of historical clothing

*Preference may be given to papers focusing on pre-1840s dress

Abstract Submission Format for a 20-minute Presentation

  • 500 word abstract. 1 image allowed, must have permission to publish
  • Please format using 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Double-spaced with single-spaced footnotes and bibliography in the Chicago style.
  • Short biography and image of speaker that may be included in the printed or online program.
  • Abstracts should be in docx. form

To Submit

  • Send to nhurst@cwf.org no later than October 15, 2023:
    • Include “2024 Historic Dress Symposium Abstract” in the subject of your email
  • Accepted papers will be contacted no later than January 15, 2024
  • Accepted presenters will receive complimentary registration for the conference (additional workshops, dinners etc. and travel accommodations not included).


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