Clothing is often a little studied area of American history, but what people wore, how it was made and who made it can offer important insights into a nation's social history. Though clothes do not the man make, they can tell you much about the men, women and children who wore them, and about the society in which they lived. Conner Prairie, an Interactive History Park located in Fishers, Indiana, holds a valuable and substantial collection of historic clothing and accessories. Heretofore, the fragile condition of many of the garments has limited their access to the public. Now, thanks to the partnership of IUPUI University Library and Conner Prairie, these objects may be seen and studied the world over.
Features of this site
Database: There are over 100 rotating 3-D images of items in the collection. You may browse the collection, or search it by garment type or era.
Video: Watch this one minute video of Conner Prairie facilitator discussing the importance of historic clothing in allowing him to "assume" his historic character.
Online Exhibit/Essays: Ericka Mason Osen was formerly Historic Clothing Coordinator at Conner Prairie. She is a nationally known historic clothing expert who has lectured on her specialty at the Smithsonian Institution, among others. In this informative exhibit she looks at clothing and how it changed over the years.
This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Social Studies Educational Resources for Use with Conner Prairie Historic Clothing Collection - Study of Culture and Cultural Diversity