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July 15, 2018

Dr. Lydia Edward to be Keynote Speaker at Symposium

Dr. Lydia Edwards, author of How to Read a Dress (2017), has accepted the invitation to deliver the keynote address at the joint Costume Society of America Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regional symposium to be held at Shippensburg University from October 11-14, 2018. Dr. Edwards’ keynote address is made possible from a generous grant from the estate of Pamela L. Kopp.

Dr. Edwards is a fashion historian with a special interest in women’s dress from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Her Ph.D. research focused on historical costuming in late nineteenth-century theatre, and this interest continues into her current research to consider notions of “accuracy,” historical interpretation and interpolation in extant garments, theatrical costume and works of art. She is passionate about making the study of dress history accessible to a wide audience and her book How to Read a Dress was described by The Fashion Studies Journal as “a welcome contribution to the literature, especially at a time when theoretical interpretations in fashion studies risk obscuring the garment itself.” Dr. Edwards lectures at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, and teaches Costume History at the world acclaimed Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She is currently completing her second book, How to Read a Suit: A Guide to Changing Men’s Fashion from the 17th to the 20th Century, and is undertaking research into the representation of clothing in the works of expressionist painter, Chaim Soutine.

Co-chairs, Dr. Karin Bohleke and Colleen Callahan, look forward to Dr. Edwards’ contribution to the symposium’s theme, “Costume Across the Curriculum & into the Community.” Dr. Bohleke commented, “Both of Dr. Edwards’ books feature garments from the collection of the Fashion Archives & Museum of Shippensburg University, and bringing her to the campus is a natural outcome of long-time exchanges as her research progressed. It is also a special opportunity to share her work with her costume colleagues and the university community. The Mid-Atlantic region of the Costume Society of America has emphasized nurturing emerging scholars as its professional development theme for the past few years, and thus inviting a fresh voice in the early stages of her career can serve as an inspiration.” Ms. Callahan further added “The Costume Society of America is a global organization with an international outlook. Shippensburg University fosters awareness of world cultures, and Dr. Edwards’ work the Fashion Archives collection illustrates the university’s own international profile.”

The symposium will be held October 11-14, 2018 and is in conjunction with the Fashion Archive & Museum’s exhibit, “The Fashions of Fiction: From Pamela to Gatsby.” Information regarding schedule and registration, for both Costume Society of America member and non-members, will be forthcoming in early August. A block of rooms has already been reserved at a special conference rate of $88 per night, breakfast included, at the Courtyard Marriott in Shippensburg. The symposium hotel is immediately adjacent to campus and located at 503 Newburg Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257. Rooms are already available for reservations at (717) 477-0680 or online at Book your group rate for Costume Society of America.

February 22, 2018

FA&M to Host Costume Society of America Joint Regional Symposium

This Symposium, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Regions, will be held in conjunction with the FA&M’s exhibit “The Fashions of Fiction from Pamela to Gatsby,” which has received generous support from the Coby Foundation. The symposium opens October 11 with pre-conference activities and closes on October 14, 2018.

Costume and fashion history are great teaching tools for educating on multiple levels and creative ways. In addition to papers and research exhibits on dress history, the symposium welcomes topics regarding educational and creative connections between dress, other fields, and the general public. Innovative exhibits, successful programs, events, and promotions are all potential topics. In connection with the FA&M exhibit, studies of costume in literature and the arts are also welcome.

Plans already include a behind the scenes off-site storage pre-conference tour of clothing belonging to Ike and Mamie Eisenhower which form part of the collection of the Eisenhower Farm Museum, as well as a special discount for symposium participants at the wonderful fabric store Needle & Thread in Gettysburg and the Creative Ewe yarn shop.

The symposium hotel, the Courtyard Marriott, is immediately adjacent to campus and located at 503 Newburg Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257. A conference rate of $88/night with breakfast included, is already available for reservations at (717) 477-0680 or online at Book your group rate for Costume Society of America.

Watch for further announcements and notices. To volunteer, please contact co-chairs Karin Bohleke ( and/or Colleen Callahan (

February 2, 2018

FA&M Awarded Coby Foundation Grant

The Fashion Archives & Museum of Shippensburg University (FA&M) was awarded a $40,000 grant from the Coby Foundation, Ltd. in New York City. With the grant, procured with the assistance of the Shippensburg University Foundation, the FA&M can hire a professional exhibit designer for its next exhibit, slated to open on April 14, 2018.

“The Coby Foundation is pleased to award the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University a grant for its upcoming exhibition `The Fashions of Fiction from Pamela to Gatsby.’ It’s a novel approach to exhibit historical fashions, and is likely to attract a new audience to its gallery. The Foundation was happy to direct funds to this installation so that future exhibitions can benefit from the improvements,” said Ward L. E. Mintz, Coby Foundation executive director.

Dr. Karin Bohleke, FA&M director, co-wrote the grant with FA&M advisory council member Colleen Callahan of the Costume and Textile Specialists. According to Bohleke, this is the first grant of its kind for the FA&M and the first opportunity to hire a professional exhibit designer. “The choice of Charles Mack of Baltimore, Maryland, was a natural one,” explained Bohleke. “He brings great talent, enthusiasm, and broad experience and has a sensitivity toward the needs of historic textiles. In addition, he is excited to work with Ship students in order to expose them to the museum design process, which is a fantastic addition to the Applied History curriculum. We are so lucky to have him on board for this project.”

March 23, 2017

New Fashion Archives Exhibit Opens on March 25

The Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University (FA&M) will debut a new exhibit on March 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. “Through the Lens of the Beholder: The Fine Art of Dress” features clothing and accessories for men, women and children from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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