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Established in 1980, the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum maintains, preserves, and exhibits apparel and accessories ranging from the 18th-century to the present. Its purpose is to enhance our understanding of society through the study of dress. The facility houses 35,000 to 50,000 items featuring not just clothing and accessories but also a reference library of vintage pattern books, fashion magazines and mail order catalogs. 

The oldest pieces in the collection are Coptic Egyptian Fabrics from the 2nd to 9th Century, and the oldest American piece in the library is a pair of wedding shoes from 1737.

The current exhibit, “The Fashions of Fiction from Pamela to Gatsby”, is an innovative exhibit concept based upon descriptions of characters in the texts of seven novels.The exhibit uses dress to enhance the understanding of students and general visitors regarding the descriptive references, the time periods, and the ways in which clothing enhances the authors’ vision of the characters. The novels to be “dressed” comprise British, French, and American fiction, and span the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These novels are:

  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela (fashions of the 1740s)
  • Claire de Duras, Ourika (fashions of the 1790s)
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (fashions of the 1790s through 1810s)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford (fashions of the 1830s)
  • Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (fashions of the 1840s)
  • Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence (fashions of the 1870s)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (fashions of the 1920s)

The current exhibit runs through April 11, 2019.

The Shippensburg University Fashion Archives & Museum is a unique educational laboratory and museum dedicated to enhancing an understanding of society through the study of costume. The Archives collects, preserves and interprets, in its historical and societal context, its holdings of apparel and related objects, which range from the 18th century to the present, with emphasis on items associated with middle-class and working Americans and with - See more at: http://www.sufoundation.org/opportunities/culturalarts/fashionarchive#sthash.bLX9ueog.dpuf

Groups:  This venue offers an educational insight to the history of fashion and is available to groups for teaching and research purposes. Free admission.

The Shippensburg University Fashion Archives & Museum is a unique educational laboratory and museum dedicated to enhancing an understanding of society through the study of costume. The Archives collects, preserves and interprets, in its historical and societal context, its holdings of apparel and related objects, which range from the 18th century to the present, with emphasis on items associated with middle-class and working Americans and with - See more at: http://www.sufoundation.org/opportunities/culturalarts/fashionarchive#sthash.bLX9ueog.dpuf
The Shippensburg University Fashion Archives & Museum is a unique educational laboratory and museum dedicated to enhancing an understanding of society through the study of costume. The Archives collects, preserves and interprets, in its historical and societal context, its holdings of apparel and related objects, which range from the 18th century to the present, with emphasis on items associated with middle-class and working Americans and with - See more at: http://www.sufoundation.org/opportunities/culturalarts/fashionarchive#sthash.bLX9ueog.dpuf

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  • Directions: Davis House is building #43 on the campus map.
  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 12pm-4pm
  • Motorcoach Parking:
  • Notes: Admission fee charged; Shippensburg University students, faculty and staff are free with valid ID; children under 12 free.
  • Parking: Parking passes available from the University Police (Reed Operations Center - across from Harley Hal
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  • Maximum # of People for Tour: 50
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  • Historical:

The Fashions of Fiction from Pamela to Gatsby