Massachusetts Museums Cover Fashion in Multiple Exhibitions

Mass Fashion explores the state’s culture of fashion through exhibitions and special events.
Mass Fashion explores the state’s culture of fashion through exhibitions and special events.

Eight cultural institutions are joining together for Mass Fashion, a statewide collaboration celebrating the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. From now through 2019, Mass Fashion partners—Concord Museum; Fuller Craft Museum; Historic New England; Massachusetts Historical Society; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Old Sturbridge Village; Peabody Essex Museum; and The Trustees of Reservations—present exhibitions and events on fashion-related subjects.

Leveraging some of the country’s largest, most diverse, and most exciting museum collections, Mass Fashion explores the topic from the seventeenth century to today. From shopping in eighteenth-century New England (Fresh Goods, currently on view at the Concord Museum) to physical discomfort in contemporary adornment (Uneasy Beauty, opening October 6 at Fuller Craft Museum), Mass Fashion exhibitions encourage the public to think about fashion from multiple perspectives. Together, they paint a vivid picture of the state’s cultural resources.

Mass Fashion: Past, Present, and Future, a joint public symposium, is scheduled for October 5 and 6 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It will feature established and emerging designers and experts addressing topics including education, technology, “banned in Boston,” progressivism, and immigration. The symposium is sponsored by the Ann and John Clarkeson Fund for Programming and Publications.

“Textile manufacturers in New England, and especially Massachusetts, led the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the state’s engineers and designers are doing so again today,” said Pamela Parmal, David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts at the MFA. “While Massachusetts has been a leading center for developments in military, athletic, and medical clothing for some time now, new trends continue to emerge as local designers are incorporating new technologies such as 3-D printing into fashionable dress. The Mass Fashion symposium will reveal the cutting-edge work being done in the state today, presenting it in the context of the past to explore what makes Massachusetts such a unique environment for innovation and technology.”

For a complete list of exhibitions and events presented as part of Mass Fashion, visit Check the #massfashion hashtag on social media to see content from participating institutions.

About Mass Fashion

Mass Fashion is a consortium of eight cultural institutions that explores and celebrates the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. Discover the wide array of fashions, and the stories behind them, on view in the Commonwealth.

Mass Fashion Exhibitions:

  • Fresh Goods: Shopping for Clothes in a New England Town, 1750 – 1900
    March 2 – July 8, 2018
    Concord Museum, Concord, Mass.
  • Inhabiting Folk Portraits
    April 14, 2018 – March 25, 2019
    Fruitlands Museum (The Trustees), Harvard, Mass.
  • Leisure Pursuits—The Fashion and Culture of Recreation
    May 12, 2018 – March 24, 2019
    Fruitlands Museum, (The Trustees), Harvard, Mass.
  • Head to Toe: Hat and Shoe Fashions from Historic New England
    June 1, 2018 – February 24, 2019
    Eustis Estate (Historic New England), Milton, Mass.
  • Casanova’s Europe: Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century
    July 8 – October 8, 2018
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Empresses of China’s Forbidden City
    August 18, 2018 – February 10, 2019
    Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
  • Fashioning the New England Family, 17th to 19th Century: Reuse, Refashion, Preserve, and Pass On
    October 5, 2018 – March 29, 2019
    Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston
  • Uneasy Beauty: Discomfort in Contemporary Adornment
    October 6, 2018 – April 21, 2019
    Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Mass.
  • Boston Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork (working title)
    November 17, 2018 – March 29, 2020
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Old Sturbridge Village will offer a series of special weekend events depicting the fashions of 1830s New England.

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