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Established by Carolyn Wingo in 1967 to support the teaching mission of the Department of Textile and Apparel Management within the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection collects and preserves clothing and textiles of historic and artistic value for purposes of teaching, research and exhibition. Artifacts range from 16th-century textile fragments to 21st-century apparel and accessories. A variety of collections exist within MHCTC holdings, such as a rich assemblage of everyday clothing that provides a rare and valuable glimpse into daily lives of the past; the Cornett family quilts, a one-of-a-kind group of fifty-eight quilts made over a period of 100 years by three generations of women from a single Missouri farming family; and regional and Missouri-made apparel, including a substantial number of dresses from Kansas City apparel manufacturer The Donnelly Garment Company, known by the label Nelly Don, as well as items from other Kansas City and St. Louis dressmakers, manufacturers and retailers.

MHCTC received its first donation of artifacts from the Kansas City Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Today, the Collection has grown to include over 6,000 items of apparel, accessories and household textiles donated by alumni, faculty and friends. Artifacts are housed in the climate-controlled Josephine Margaret Holik Conservatory and exhibited in the Abigail and Nicholas Filippello Exhibition Showcase in Gwynn Hall on the University of Missouri campus.


The MHCTC encourages textile appreciation and scholarship through preservation, exhibition, research and educational programming. Artifacts are used in numerous TAM classes, such as Softgoods Retailing, Apparel Production, Social Appearance in Time and Space, History of Western Dress, and 19th & 20th Century Western Dress. As part of MU’s Art-i-Fact and Material Culture Studies groups, MHCTC develops exhibitions and programs with campus and community museums, departments and institutions to encourage use of Collection artifacts. Examples include participation in MU’s Art-i-Fact Gallery and Museum Crawl, MAA’s Art in Bloom, MU’s Celebration of Teaching Conference, Columbia Public School’s Professional Development Day, Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian’s National Museum Day, and the Archaeological Institute of America’s International Archaeology Day.

MHCTC staff members also maintain active memberships in numerous national professional organizations, including the Costume Society of America, the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the International Textile and Apparel Association and the Missouri Association of Museums and Archives.