History of the Fox Historic Costume Collection

DHCC History

History of the Fox Historic Costume Collection

When A. J. Drexel founded the Drexel Institute in 1891, he made provisions for the purchase of fine and decorative arts for the edification of its students, as he believed that the practical study of the art and craft of design was essential to the educational experience. Textiles and garments were among these early purchases and soon, this small collection was augmented by donations from faculty members and other supporters of the Drexel Institute and became the Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC)

In 1959, the Nan Duskin Laboratory of Costume Design was created, enabling the collection to be housed in a state-of- the-art storage & classroom facility.  It was named for Mrs. Anne Lincoln, founder of the esteemed Nan Duskin specialty shop and enthusiastic supporter of the FHCC. Working closely with curator Mary Carter, Lincoln brought the FHCC national recognition and facilitated significant donations from important designers and women of style. Since then, the FHCC has continued to acquire examples of historic costume for educational use and mount exhibitions. In 2009, Drexel University hired the first full-time curator, Clare Sauro, to oversee the collection. In January of 2013, the Fox Historic Costume Collection relocated to its current location in the URBN Center.

Preventive Conservation

It is our mission to honor A. J. Drexel’s original educational intent, while preserving the collection for future generations. At the FHCC, we follow established methods of preventive conservation. The collection is housed in a controlled environment that is designed to minimize damage caused by light, fluctuations of temperature and humidity, pests, excessive handling, and external pollutants. Through these preventive measures we hope to ensure that the objects will be available for researchers for centuries to come. Utilizing a controlled environment designed to protect historic textiles from damage, the FHCC preserves a wide range of fashion history – from late Renaissance velvets to Parisian haute couture to mid-20th century American garments by designers and retailers such as Norman Norell and Nan Duskin.