Costume & Textiles
The Wadsworth Atheneum’s Costume and Textiles collection holds about 2,500 textile objects and 5,000 costumes and accessories, ranging in time from Coptic to Contemporary, in size from thimbles to tapestries, and representing every continent. Many objects cross curatorial lines, like African American story quilts, Native American baskets, and contemporary fiber art.
Some holdings are unique, like paper gowns created by contemporary artists for the Atheneum’s Paper Balls of 1936 and 1966. Our world-renowned Lifar collection of Ballets Russes paintings and drawings is supplemented by Ballets Russes costumes. Two seventeenth- and eighteenth-century rare and beautiful tapestry series tell the Story of Psyche and the Story of Jason. The Atheneum is also the depository for Cheney Brothers textiles and keeper of the Cheney legacy.
The Costume and Textile Department is supported in part by the efforts of the Costume & Textile Society, a member organization founded in 1984.