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Oakville Museum is always Fashionable with 1000’s Costumes

Oakville Museum's fashion collection is one of Canada's largest

Wedding Dress Exhibit 2015
Oakville Museum is always Fashionable with 1000’s Costumes
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About the Author

Carolyn Cross

Carolyn Cross

Carolyn Cross is the Curator of Collections for the town of Oakville Museum. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from McGill University and earned her Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University. Carolyn became the Curator in 2007.

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The costumes and textiles in the Oakville Museum Collection are rare survivors that have made it into the twenty-first century and have the potential to tell a variety of stories which give life to our town’s history. Museums play an important role in preserving material objects of the past. Clothing and textiles are some of the most fragile artifacts housed in a museum as they have often been subject to significant wear and tear.

The intricate beading of a bodice, the delicate lace of a christening gown and the exquisite tailoring of a couture design reveal the fashions and habits of the past, but also the intimate details of the lives of the individuals who made and wore them.

With thousands of artifacts dating from the mid-18th century to the present, the Oakville Museum’s costume and textile collection is a well-respected repository of Canadian fashion. The breadth of our collection reflects what fashionable women of Oakville have worn over the centuries. Each artifact tells a piece of fashion history.

The particular strength of the costume collection is women’s dresses from the early 1900s to the 1960s. The costume collection also boasts exceptional coats and capes, uniforms, menswear and children’s clothing as well as accessories such as shoes, hats, gloves and bags. The textile collection includes quilts, coverlets, samplers and household linens. All of these precious artifacts have been donated to the museum by generous individuals, more often than not, members of the Oakville community.

The Oakville Museum explores past lifestyles and interprets historic themes in exciting costume exhibitions at our two sites: Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate at 8 Navy Street and Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre at 2302 Bridge Road. This spring and summer at Erchless Estate we are showcasing the colours of the rainbow in our Colour-Coded costume exhibit and at QEPCCC, The Art of the Hat delves into the fashioning women’s headwear. Coming this summer to the Main Gallery at QEPCCC, Crème de la Crème will highlights the best of the museum’s wedding gown collection.


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