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Established by Carolyn Wingo in 1967 to support the teaching mission of the Department of Textile and Apparel Management, the MHCTC has grown to include over 6,000 items of apparel, accessories and household textiles ranging from 16th century textile fragments to 21st century apparel and accessories. Housed in the climate-controlled Josephine Margaret Holik Conservatory in Gwynn Hall, the Collection includes apparel and accessories for men, women and children, as well as military apparel, world dress and household textiles. MHCTC actively collects artifacts with Missouri-related provenance as well as those by prominent designers, manufacturers and retailers of the past and present. Due to preservation needs, access to the Conservatory is by appointment only and not all items are available for class or research appointments. Please contact Collection Manager Nicole Johnston at to arrange your visit. Explore highlights from our Collection below.


MHCTC encourages textile appreciation and scholarship through preservation, exhibition, research and educational programming. Over 250 collection artifacts are used in teaching each semester. Material objects, especially clothing, textile and accessory objects, greatly enhance learning outcomes. Dress is a visual communication tool through which we can explore a period’s or civilization’s technology, politics, social structure, economics, religion, communication, aesthetics, and more. Dress is particularly relatable as everyone in every corner of the globe wears some element of dress, from tattoos to tennis shoes and everything in between! When asked to reflect on the approach of teaching history through the lens of dress, students in TAM 2520W History of Western Dress replied:

man and woman in formal wear

"I thought this approach was awesome because it’s a more human-based aspect of history instead of event-based. I really felt like I understood the people of history better and how factors in their lives affected what they wore."

Maddie L., Undeclared, Business or Accountancy Major, University of Missouri (2019)

waistline of dress

"As new cultures and eras were introduced, my biases and stereotypes were shattered. I had a lot of preconceived notions about certain cultures’ dress and failed to see the interconnections between "then" and "now." This class definitely helped me change that."

Jackson F., University of Missouri (2014)

HES Dean, Sandy Rikoon and Ruth Tofle

"As much of a 'fashionista' as I considered myself to be, my views on dress have changed immensely. I never in a million years considered dress as a form of political speech – no wonder it’s called a 'fashion statement!"

Kynoisha H., University of Missouri (2014)


"I've been so used to learning through only books and historical facts but adding the component of dress really makes it personable. I might actually use this idea for my future classroom as I felt it was very successful."

Sarah S., Special Education-BSED Major, University of Missouri (2019)

o Collection resources are used in numerous TAM classes, as well as theses, dissertations, juried articles, exhibitions and publications within multiple disciplines. Click below to discover how Collection artifacts are used in teaching, research and collaboration in a wide variety of disciplines beyond Textile and Apparel Management, including Art History, Anthropology, Agriculture, Economics, English, Education, Fine Arts, History, International Studies, Journalism, Plant Sciences, Women and Gender Studies, and more!

The MHCTC is part of the University of Missouri’s Material Culture Studies Group, a consortium of university collections whose purpose is to promote the use of material culture objects in teaching and research. An HONORS COLLEGE TUTORIAL offers freshman and sophomore Honors students an introduction to the wide variety of MU’s unique material culture resources. Students visit the MHCTC to tour the collection storage conservatory and current exhibition after completing hands-on activities utilizing collection artifacts. Through this process students are introduced to the study of material culture early in their academic career to encourage future connections with MU’s unique resources.

Other annual Group programming includes NATIONAL MUSEUM DAY and INTERNATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY DAY, nationwide events by international organizations including the Smithsonian Magazine and Archaeological Institute of America, that provide hands-on learning activities for individuals of all ages utilizing objects from university collections.

Honors Students Research Artifacts

Honors Students Tour MHCTC Exhibition

Honors Students Tour Holik Conservatory

National Museum Day 2017

International Archaeology Day with Carol Leigh Brack-Kaiser 2017

Museum Archaeology Day 2018

The MHCTC is invited annually to participate in the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s Art in Bloom event during which the MHCTC displays garments with floral themes used as inspiration for headdress and jewelry designs by students in MU’s Wedding Floral Design course of the Department of Plant Sciences in the School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Students first preview a variety of dress garments during a special session in which they learn the provenance of each artifact and photograph and sketch one of their choosing. Students then use their chosen garment as inspiration for the creation of floral headpieces and jewelry displayed alongside the garment during the museum’s popular event which draws over 1,500 people over three days.


Three colleges. Two collections. A one-of-a-kind student experience.

F.A.M.E.: Fashion.Art.Museum.Experience is a unique fundraising event for the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s Museum Associates and the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection at the University of Missouri. Students in TAM 2580 Digital Apparel and Textile Applications, TAM 4480 Creativity and Problem Solving, and Plant Sciences 3220 Special Occasion Floral Design participate in the event held at the Museum of Art and Archaeology. Guests have the opportunity to speak with students about the creative processes behind their apparel, scarf and floral designs while browsing artifacts from both University collections.

Explore the F.A.M.E. 2019 event.

Architectural Studies student Noah Chidoub completed a virtual reality Fashion Photogrammetry Project as part of his Digital Storytelling New Media Capstone using the MHCTC’s 196os polyester Burger King uniform. A 360 degree view of the garment was captured using both digital photography and scanning to create a short video highlighting the use of VR/AR applications.

"For my Digital Storytelling Capstone’s New Media Project I chose to try photogrammetry. I have seen a lot of VR/AR applications used for advertising of pieces in the fashion industry, and decided I’d try to scan an item of clothing and display it in VR [Virtual Reality.] MU’s Textile and Apparel Management Dept. was enthusiastic to work with me on this, as they donated the amazing garment displayed in the video from their archives: a women's Burger King uniform from the 1960's! The video clearly shows some issues with texturing and color, but through this project I learned about 3D scanning software and hardware and topological repairs." – Noah Chidoub (2019)

women's Burger King uniform