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Public Museum offers behind scenes look at fashion collection in special pop-up experience

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The museum announces it will showcase pieces from its Fashion Collection in a special pop-up experience this weekend only, Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2. This pop up experience, will showcase the collections process of photographing, cataloging and documenting artifacts.
Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum /Grand Rapids Public Museum

Underwriting support from:
All-American Girls Professional League baseball uniform, c. 1952-54

All-American Girls Professional League baseball uniform, c. 1952-54 /Grand Rapids Public Museum

Boy's sailor suit, c. 1915

Boy's sailor suit, c. 1915

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today that it will showcase pieces from its Fashion Collection in a special pop-up experience this weekend only -  Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2! This pop up experience, will showcase the Collections process of photographing, cataloging and documenting artifacts for the Museum’s online database,

"We are excited to give the community a look at what happens behind the scenes at the Grand Rapids Public Museum," said Christie Bender, Director of Marketing at the GRPM. "The digitization of the Fashion Collection allows the Museum to expand the use of these historical garments that tell the story of the culture in Grand Rapids and all over the world."

The GRPM’s artifact photography station, used behind-the-scenes on a daily basis, will be brought to the main floor Galleria at the Museum’s downtown location. GRPM curatorial staff will be taking high-quality digital images for a portion of the Museum's historic clothing collection that will include swimsuits, athletic wear and children's clothing. These images will be immediately available on

Visitors will get to learn about the process of researching the garment to find out how it was worn and can assist staff with dressing mannequins for photography, getting a close up look at some of the Museum's clothing treasures. Curatorial staff can answer questions about the process, as well as the Collections in general.

Normally photographing the Collections is a behind-the-scenes task. Improving the cataloging content supports GRPM’s interpretive programs, increases primary source learning resources for teachers and students, and expands research opportunities through

This pop up experience will be in the Museum’s Galleria from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 1 and June 2, 2018 and will be included with general admission to the GRPM. For further details, visit

This project part of an inventory and cataloging project of 5,600 clothing objects made possible with the support of the Institute of Museums and Library Services: Museums for America grant program.

Identified in the GRPM’s long range preservation plan, the GRPM’s historical clothing Collection has long been recognized as one of the Museum’s most fragile assets. The IMLS grant in is significantly improving the physical management of the Collection by consolidating it into the GRPM’s climate-controlled collection storage facility and re-housing individual pieces as needed. This is a matching grant, in which the GRPM matched the IMLS contribution.

Since the GRPM began collecting in 1854, it has amassed a comprehensive Collection of clothing items, with strengths in fashionable garments from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Collection is especially strong in the areas of women’s clothing, wedding attire, military uniforms, items with local provenance, as well as unique special function items such as women’s athletic wear.





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