Costume & Textiles

The Wadsworth Atheneum’s Costume and Textiles collection holds approximately 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 museum’s Paper Balls of 1936 and 1966. The museum’s world-renowned Lifar collection of Ballets Russes paintings and drawings is supplemented by Ballets Russes costumes. The museum is also the depository for Cheney Brothers textiles and keeper of the Cheney legacy.

Search the Costume & Textiles Collection
Use this link to search for objects in the Costume & Textiles collection. Please note: digitizing artworks is an ongoing process, so this search is not representative of the museum’s entire collection. You can identify objects that are currently on view via the Object Description box, in the “Currently on view?” field.

Updates to our database are made weekly, so if you plan to visit the museum to see a specific work of art please call the Information Desk in advance of your visit at (860) 838-4100, Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm to ensure availability.

Browse collection highlights using the image gallery below.
Images below do not reflect what is currently on view.

The Costume and Textile Department is supported in part by the Costume and Textile Society, a member organization founded in 1984.