digital collections of extant garments, real women's clothing directory, research

Real Women’s Clothing Guide

So I’ve got good news and bad news.  The good?  There are SO MANY museums that are putting their costume collections online — since my last update to the Real Women’s Clothing guide, there’s been the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Colonial Williamsburg, and Centre de Documentació i Museu Tèxtil de Terrassa, among I’m sure many others.  The bad?  There’s just no way I can keep up with adding and maintaining that many individual links.  Seriously — run some searches in some of these new databases, there are hundreds if not thousands of individual items that I would need to add/maintain.  Given that the last real update to the Real Women’s Clothing guide was in November 2008, I think it’s time to give up the ghost.

Instead, I have created a directory of Digital Collections of Extant Costumes, which includes both collection databases and static webpages with images of historic costume.  This will be much more easily updated, and I can now include museums/collections that don’t include women, or go outside of the date range, of the previous Real Women’s Clothing guide.  I tried to include searching instructions where I thought they would be needed, especially with non-English language sites.  If you know of any museums that I’ve missed, please let me know!

I will leave the old version of the Real Women’s Clothing guide up, as I know many people find it useful… but I won’t be updating it anymore. (I’ll add redirects off that site to the new directory very soon).

And a fair offer, as I always said I would do this:  if there is someone who is CRAZY enough to want to take over updating/adding to the Real Women’s Clothing guide in its previous incarnation on your own website, I will happily pass that on to you — but we should talk so you get an idea of how much work you’re signing up for!

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  • Reply Trystan April 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    That makes good sense to me! You’ve been a trooper putting this kind of resource together for so long :-)

  • Reply Colleen Crosby April 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

    That’s a great idea! Thanks for all your effort at putting together the old site and coming up with a way to make it work in a new format. You rock!

  • Reply Rosel April 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Even just the list of online collection databases will be a great resource, and the original RWCG will remain a pretty useful.

  • Reply Hana Marmota April 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I think links to databases are even better… everyone can search for whatever their heart desires that way.
    I SO wish the Um?lecko-pr?myslové muzeum in Prague put up their collections online. I remember they had some really pretty pieces… like a collection of wedding dresses over the course of approximatelly 100 years, from late Victorian/Edwardian to modern.

  • Reply Kathryn Bourn April 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Do you think it would be possible to do this as a wiki? I love your database. I’ve found it so incredibly useful for so many years. You have helped me with my Oregon Trail and Civil War living history, and I costumed a production of “Hedda Gabler” based on images from your database. I would love to help. I can’t do it all but I can help.

  • Reply Mae April 19, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I love the RWCG so much, it’s been phenomenally useful. It’s also understandably impossible to keep cataloging so many images in that way… A wiki might be possible if there was a small bevy of people to work on one era at a time, perhaps. I could help contribute to that. Otherwise the collection list is great and I’m glad you put that up.

  • Reply kendra April 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Kathryn & Mae — a wiki could be an interesting way to do it, although what I’ve found is that it’s not just adding the links — it’s maintaining them. You’d be surprised how often links go dead b/c museums have redone their site. So we’d need people interested in going back through the listings and rechecking/refinding listings periodically too!

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