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A Tribute to Annie

May 9th 2021

Museum Volunteer Barbara Meger writes about how she was inspired by the expert craftsmanship of quilter Annie G. Dunton (1833-1893).


From Slave to "Self-Taught Genius": Joshua Johnson at the Maryland Center for History and Culture

April 21st 2021

Often considered the first professional African American artist, Joshua Johnson was a freed slave who achieved a remarkable degree of success as a portraitist in his lifetime by painting affluent patrons in his native Baltimore.


Spinning the Fabric of a Nation: A Nineteenth-Century Spinning Wheel and Early Linen Production in Maryland

November 20th 2020

From getting dressed in the morning to curling up under a cozy blanket, we interact with fabrics every day. But how well do we really understand how those fabrics were made...


Buttons and Badges: Rediscovering the Museum's Political Ephemera Collection

November 5th 2020

In case you have not heard, we just held an election in the United States. Buttons, badges, hats, T-shirts, and […]


Quilt Blocks, Drunk Raccoons, and Political Campaigns

July 17th 2020

Baltimore album quilts, a popular quilting style between 1845 and 1855, inherently hold a trove of historical documentation. These quilts […]


Hutzler’s Art Deco Medallion

July 9th 2020

Marylanders over the age of forty smile brightly and recall fond memories whenever the name “Hutzler’s” is mentioned. Hutzler Brothers […]


Truth is Stranger than Fictional Characters: Dolly Varden in the 1870s

August 30th 2019

During the mid-nineteenth century, people fell in love with Dolly Varden. She became so popular that suddenly anything and everything was named after her, including various types of music, a fish (the Dolly Varden Trout, specifically), a hat, and a style of dress. 


If Clothes Could Talk: The Social History of the Tea Gown

August 18th 2019

The tea gown has had many influences and inspirations. While the tea gown is very much a Victorian-era creation and a response to late nineteenth century culture, the tea gown also largely influenced fashion well into the twentieth century.


Exhibiting Costume at the Maryland Historical Society, 1970 and Now

August 17th 2019

In the 1970s, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) began a practice of showcasing costume from its Fashion Archives using common exhibition practices for the period. The Fashion Archives  includes over 14,000 garments and accessories dating from 1724 to the present. Curatorial staff preserved the legacies of these exhibitions through meticulous…


Forgotten Furs: Collections Care Strategies for Fur Garments in the Maryland Historical Society's Fashion Archives

August 16th 2019

Fur fashions seem to transcend time and space. They have appeared in numerous cultures across the world throughout the last few thousand years for both functional and aesthetic reasons. While the 1980s and 1990s saw a decline in the desire for fur coats that required the inhumane treatment of animals…


Archiving Accessories: How to Mount a Fan for Storage

August 8th 2019

The Maryland Historical Society’s Fashion Archives holds more than dresses and garments. It also contains a multitude of fashionable accessories from hats to shoes, parasols to gloves, fans to stockings, and everything else in between. Fans were often both functional and decorative. Women in the 19th century kept cool on…


Making a Mend: Historic Repair Techniques for Costume

August 2nd 2019

What do you do when your favorite jeans wear out? Or you lose a button on your favorite blouse? Today’s fast fashion practices encourage consumers to replace garments that are torn, faded, or out of style, but in many costumes in the Fashion Archives at MdHS, evidence of repair means…


A Brief History of the Fashion Plate

July 26th 2019

Emily McCort, 2019 Summer Fashion Archives Intern In the last couple of years, I personally began collecting fashion plates. As someone who has an interest in fashion history and a background in the arts, the combination of fashion and art fascinated me. Earlier fashion plates give the most up to date…


Dating 101: The Pagoda Sleeve of the Mid-19th Century

July 19th 2019

This summer, I and the other Fashion Archives interns have been charged with the rediscovery, processing, and rehousing of costumes from the Maryland Historical Society’s Fashion Archives. Many of the costumes lack accompanying information about the original wearer, or even the time period, so it is necessary for us to…


Bold Prints, Ikat and Chiné Silk

July 12th 2019

When peeking into the boxes of the Fashion Archives at MdHS, one aspect of costume that always strikes me is the complexity of prints and patterns. Sometimes between layers of tissue, my first impression of a dress is only a glimpse of a spectacular floral motif or stripe. This was…