Costume Colors

The Betty D. Eastin Historic Costume Collection

The Betty D. Eastin Historic Costume Collection is an educational, scholarly, and artistic resource for the University of Kentucky Department of Retailing and Tourism Management (RTM). Textiles are important indices of the life experience as primary sources of information about people and culture.  This unique Kentucky decorative art costume collection provides educational resources which further the understanding of human beings within their material and social environments through the study of textiles of artistic, cultural, and historic significance.   This collection serves as a valuable asset and resource to the students, department, college, university, community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Our Mission regarding the Historic Costume Collection is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret textile, apparel and accessory items that support the RTM Department for education, research, and community outreach.

The collection is housed in an 800 sq. ft third floor storage area in Erikson Hall and is comprised of approximately 2500 artifacts ranging in dates from 1870 to the 1970s. Begun in 1973 as a teaching tool with: women’s, men’s, and children’s garments; household textiles, lace and trim samples; and a collection of dolls from around the world.  The women’s clothing collection includes several pieces that are of particular significance including the Lexington native Belle Breezing collection, Kentucky–born Mona Von Bismarck apparel, and an extensive hat collection.  Currently the collection is being used in teaching, research, for exhibition and education.  The international doll collection is currently on exhibit at the Lexington Children’s Museum and the Lexington Public Library. In 1995, the hat collection was on exhibit as “On Top Of It All” at the Headly-Whitney Museum.

Balenciaga HatHistoric HatHistoric Hat