Historic

“Powerful,” “Proud,” and “Let’s Be Real, It’s Time:” Visitor Responses to a Fashion Museum Exhibition Centering Black Women’s Fashions in a Predominantly White Space

Authors
  • Dyese Matthews (Cornell University)
  • Kelly L. Reddy Best (Iowa State University)

Abstract

In the spring of 2020, we mounted the exhibition Collegiate Fashion & Activism: Black Women’s Styles on the College Campus where we analyzed how Black women college students attending predominately white institutions in Iowa express their Black and/or activist identity through fashion. The purpose of this research was to examine the campus community’s response to this exhibition. We conducted a survey completed by 77 visitors. We found that participants felt diversity was important and desired to see more Black women’s fashion in museums. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the exhibition as participates used words such as powerful, empowering, and appreciation. Participants also expressed they felt a sense of pride when in the gallery. Our results offer implications for museum professionals as they accession objects and plan for future exhibitions: representation is important and people feel empowered by it. One participant said it best, “let’s be real, it’s time.”

Keywords: survey, inclusion, social justice, diversity, Black women, urban wear, history, fashion museum

How to Cite:

Matthews, D. & Reddy Best, K. L., (2020) ““Powerful,” “Proud,” and “Let’s Be Real, It’s Time:” Visitor Responses to a Fashion Museum Exhibition Centering Black Women’s Fashions in a Predominantly White Space”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 77(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/itaa.12097

Downloads:
Download PDF
View PDF

363 Views

103 Downloads

Published on
28 Dec 2020
Peer Reviewed