Missouri’s most extensive collection of historical garments, the Stephens College Costume Museum and Research Library (CMRL) holds more than 13,000 garments and accessories, with pieces dating back to 1730.

Among the many designers represented are Oleg Cassini, Arnold Scaasi, Gilbert Adrian, Bill Blass, Bonnie Cashin, Chanel, Courreges, Madame Etta, Claire McCardell, Norman Norell, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.

Established in 1958, the archive has grown by donations from alumnae, friends and designers. The working collection allows students to study garment construction and fashion trends that provide inspiration for current styles. Archival storage areas protect the integrity of the collection, and classroom space allows for research and lecture discussions.

Students are encouraged to conduct individual research projects, curate exhibits, and gain valuable archive and historic conservation experience by interning with the CMRL.


Historic Costume Gallery

The Historic Costume Gallery hosts two free public exhibits each year. All items displayed are pulled from the Costume Museum and Research Library. The gallery is a frequent home for lectures, events and research. Special tours are available.


Current Exhibit

Virtual Exhibition: The Collections

Spring 2021

The 77th annual Student Designer Fashion Presentations: The Collections will take place as a virtual exhibition available on April 24 at TheCollectionsFashionShow.com.

As we approach a presidential election year, we are proud to be celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment as a women’s college. Women’s history and fashion history are woven together in the social fabric of our nation, which makes this exhibition important for anyone working, studying and living in the U.S.”

Dr. Lori Hall-Arajuo, Former Museum Curator and Assistant Professor of Fashion

Gallery is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. New open times and dates will be posted soon.



Past Exhibits

Gallery Exhibition Photos >

Contact Us

Costume Museum and Research Library

Lela Raney Wood Hall, Mezzanine
(573) 876-7233 [email protected] 6 N. College Ave.

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