The Fashion Institute of Technology “E-Museum”

Costume, c.1889, Printed cotton, metal buttons.  The Museum at FIT, 88.125.1

I was excited to receive MFIT‘s latest press release, regarding the ongoing digitization of their collection.  At this point over six hundred objects have been added to their “E-Museum”, a resource that can now be accessed from anywhere in the world.  I’ve been working on a gallery talk that I gave Tuesday which focuses on the Aesthetic Movement, and eager to explore the new database and search for some Liberty of London dresses or late 19th century smocked gowns for inspiration, I was a little disappointed to come up empty handed.  Maybe it’s not fair to say empty handed, because I did find a lovely Yves Saint Laurent gown that decidedly pays homage to the type of dress exemplified in one of the paintings that I focused on, which was a fun discovery.

The Love Song, 1868-77, Edward Burne-Jones.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 47.26.  Evening Dress, c.1980, Yves Saint Laurent.  The Museum at FIT, 82.234.1

Yet, I’m still finding the MFIT website to be a little difficult to search through.  I’m wondering if others have had a similar experience or if perhaps I’m still adjusting to their unique way of organizing information.  The majority of my object research in their system thus far has been focused on 19th century items, which are lumped together with 18th century dress, while objects from the 20th century forward are broken down by decade.  I’m hoping that this is a temporary way of organizing information that will perhaps be broken down further as the collection grows.  Regardless, it’s so exciting to find more and more collections becoming accessible to the public in this way.  This is particularly important for textile objects that face the danger of fading, wear, and other deterioration more quickly than other more durable types of material culture. I’m really looking forward to seeing how FIT’s site progresses in the near future…

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