Mud Paintings

Sensing chemical and physical changes of microbial industry

This exhibition features art made with photosynthetic bacteria.

Circus Fashion

Featuring the Research of Circus in Fashion and Costume through Exhibitions

Circus Fashion is developed as a repository of exhibitions and resources on circus costume. Utilizing items from various resources across campus including the Circus Publicity Collection in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection, along with artifacts loaned by circus professionals and institutions, the Circus Fashion site elevates the study of circus costume into retrievable, publicly accessible information through engaged and creative scholarship.

Ties that Bind: Quilting at the Clarke Africana Library

February 17-June 12, 2023

This two-part exhibit at the Clarke Africana Library celebrates the community-building tradition of African American quilt-making. Organized by Cornell University Library, Tompkins County Public Library, and the Community Quilting Resource Center, the Quilting Project honors Morrison’s legacy and her deep connection to quilt-making. In her novel Beloved, for example, she used an heirloom quilt as a storytelling device to connect the different histories of its characters. And, in exploring the African American diaspora experience throughout her work, Morrison wove complex narratives from a patchwork of voices across time and space. “Toni Morrison is one of the preeminent chroniclers of the African American experience and, much like quilt-making, she created beautiful, useful, and communal art out of the multiplicity and everyday experiences of her characters,” said project co-organizer Camille Andrews, emerging literacies librarian at Mann Library of Cornell University Library. “We hope that our community today, in these difficult times, will find inspiration in her works and legacy as they participate in the quilting project.” The Toni Morrison Quilting Project invited to participate remotely by making and donating quilt blocks and small quilts. Once collected, the quilt squares and small quilts will be donated to different local organizations and locations including the Toni Morrison residence hall, currently under construction on Cornell’s North Campus. Morrison earned her master’s degree in American literature in 1955 from Cornell, and she received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She died in 2019. “It is amazing that Toni Morrison lived in our community and that her education here in Ithaca contributed to her extraordinary writing,” said Brigid Hubberman—CEO of the nonprofit Children’s Reading Connection and a quiltmaker spearheading the development of the Community Quilting Resource Center—who is helping to drum up awareness about the quilting project. “It is wonderful to have an opportunity for the Ithaca and Tompkins County community to come together with quiltmakers at Cornell to shine light on the beauty of Morrison’s legacy, stitching the most powerful words, wonder, and wisdom from her stories.”

Engaging Communities, Empowering Students

Engaging Communities, Empowering Students: Fostering Cross-Cultural Connections through Dress, 1936-1958 explores the different ways international students helped to foster cross-cultural understandings of dress on Cornell’s campus in the mid-twentieth century.

Fabricating Archives of African History

Students in the seminar – Dress, Cloth and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora (HIST 2452) – have spent this semester exploring the different histories that can be traced through an analysis of how textiles are produced, traded, used and worn. The items in this exhibit provide just a small sample of the multiple histories woven into these fabrics as they journeyed from agricultural products, to finished cloths and designer dresswear.

Clothing Amidst Conflict

Womenswear During World War II

How did global warfare affect women's fashion in the United States during WWII? In this exhibit, we explore women's changing roles during wartime through the clothing they wore. You'll find examples of what women wore in the military, nurse corps, factories, and on the homefront. "Clothing Amidst Conflict" reveals women's undeniable commitment to style during the war.

The Prep

A Curatorial Styling Exhibition on the Evolution of the Preppy Style and its Relevance in 2021

The Prep is a curatorial styling exhibit that analyses the trajectory of the preppy style from its origins to modern day. In exploring the stylistic and lifestyle characteristics that constitute being a prep, the history of how the subculture came to be, and how media representations have influenced the style and its demographic over time, the exhibit touches upon themes of nostalgia, class, inclusivity, and uniformity.

Flights of Fancy

Fashion and Function in Circus Performance

The relationship between circus and fashion is one of ebb and flow, inspiration and aspiration: the iconic imagery of circus dress symbolism has long influenced design houses and couture displays, providing visual references that translate from the ring to the runway. This exhibition explores the circus as fashion inspiration by highlighting examples of past and present performers, designed spaces, and the symbolism of circus as fantasy. Step right up! The show is about to begin.

Trash: Rethink and Reclaim

In this exhibition we use trash as a lens to rethink the social constructions of waste, marginalization, and consumption and how we might reclaim these stories through repair, preservation, and re-narrativization. Trash is not just something produced by individuals that is automatically gross, offensive, disgusting or harmful. It’s all part of a wider sociocultural, political, ecological, and economic system.

Green Armor

Wrap, Protect, Cover, Perform

GREEN ARMOR is a fashion exhibition that explores and celebrates the power of the color green as a form of armor throughout fashion history. Green has a longstanding relationship with the human body: it signals illness but also alerts the body when it is safe to “go,” enhanced today by our collective Cornell COVID-19 dashboard that reminds us green is the “new normal.” We represent different facets of green armor through the following themes: The Troupers, The Emissaries, The Dancers, The Viewers and The Playwrights (In Three Acts).

A. D. White Library Tour

A curated tour through the President Andrew Dickson White Library, the historic heart of Cornell's first library, and iconic university landmark. This online exhibition explores the architecture, history, and people associated with the A. D. White Library.


visual narratives in Japanese pop culture

Engaging Early American History through Mapping

HIST 2391 - From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States

History 2391 grew out of a desire to find a new way to expose students to the rich and diverse visual record of Early American history. The seminar engages the rich cartographic record of colonial North America via an in-depth analysis of two dozen iconic maps. Students assessed human representations of space across cultural boundaries, and explored change over time in the mapmaking practices of indigenous peoples and various European intruders.

Selections from the Barazangi Map Collection

Understanding the Middle East through Geologic Movement

This exhibit features maps donated by Professor Muawia Barazangi, emeritus professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The maps and images explore how plate tectonics created, and shaped the geography of the Middle East, and how that geologic history resulted in the region’s status as both an oil & gas rich region, and an epicenter of natural disasters.

Chinese Traditional Dress

The 10,000-item Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection holds many hidden treasures from several centuries of fashion. An exhibit, “Chinese Traditional Dress and Its Influence (1840-1960),” originally put some of its best Chinese pieces on display in the Elizabeth Schmeck Brown Gallery of the Human Ecology Building in 2013. Now the gallery will be open for viewing digitally, as well.

Written in Petals

The Language of Flowers in Victorian Europe

Attaching meaning to flowers was a signature--and surprisingly long lasting--cultural phenomenon of the Victorian era.

Black Excellence: Fashion that Prevails

Black Excellence: Fashion that Prevails showcases the work of Black style tastemakers, influencers, and designers. The exhibition is organized thematically around the influences of African heritage, elegance, entertainment, and education. Curator Sian Brown MA ‘20 interviewed Black fashion designers in North America about their experiences in the industry, including their struggles, triumphs, and joys. Her research findings are conveyed through Black Excellence, which explores fashion design as a site where Black culture, dress, and identity are negotiated and produced.


FASHION AND FEATHERS explores the complex and nebulous space between inspiration and exploitation. Throughout the exhibition, we have endeavored to identify as many birds as possible, hypothesizing about abstracted representations of birds and identifying actual feathers. We invite you to “go birding” in this exhibition. Look closely at each item, identify birds, and in doing so, reflect upon the beauty and tragedy of fashion and feathers.

Women Empowered: Fashions from the Frontline

WOMEN EMPOWERED: Fashions from the Frontline chronicles how women have strategically and persistently used fashion to empower and uplift. From activists to politicians, academics to servicewomen, artists to athletes, entertainers and everyday unsung heroes, WOMEN EMPOWERED uses fashion to tell the stories of women on the frontlines. The exhibit is therefore organized according to physical spaces--The Street, The Government, The Stage, The Sports Arena, The Academy--where fashion transforms, at times transgresses, and ultimately empowers.

Unturned Leaves

Early Women in Botanical Illustration

Prior to the 20th century, one of the few paths to scientific relevance for women was the pursuit of botany.

The Biggest Little Fashion City

Ithaca & Silent Film Style

The Biggest Little Fashion City explored Ithaca’s silent film history through the lens of costume, style, and fashion by chronicling the influence of the actors and actresses who lived and worked in Ithaca during the heyday of film production. Secondly, the exhibit highlighted the ways in which the new medium of moving pictures more broadly transformed fashion trends from the 1910s through the late 1920s.


An eclectic exhibition, indeed. It grew out of a simple and (intentionally) vague prompt: texture. What resulted was a group of students and staff members selecting some of the most visually stunning and beloved items hidden in the corners of our costume and textile collection. TEXTURE is about how fashion and textile objects can ask questions beyond their selvedges and seams.

Go Figure: The Fashion Silhouette and the Female Form

Go Figure explores perceptions and representations of Euro-American beauty ideals across the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Through outerwear and undergarments, this historical costume exhibition shows how women’s bodies have been manipulated and shaped to fit fashionable silhouettes at different moments in time. From corsetry and girdles to diet and exercise, shaping the human body is critical to fashion change and illustrates the fluctuating and dynamic nature of socio-cultural conceptions of “beauty.”

Films, Mills, and Poets: Mid-Century Bombay

Films, Mills, and Poets: Mid-Century Bombay was an exhibit that was shown at the Carl A. Kroch Library's Asia Collections between September and November 2017, in conjunction with 'The Archive and the City of Bombay', a symposium held September 15. This online version highlights the major areas of the physical exhibit, while also showing a selection of the objects from the collection that were on display.

Union-Made: Fashioning America in the Twentieth Century

This exhibit focuses on the role played by two major American clothing workers’ unions, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) in defending the standards of living and the job security of their members through the use of the union label and the promotion of the fashion industry in collaboration with prominent American designers. Sewn into every union-made garment, the label signaled to consumers that the goods they were buying were produced by American workers who enjoyed “fair labor standards and the American way of life.”

Vintage Vision

The Art of Gazette du Bon Ton

In 1912 Lucien Vogel started a new magazine dedicated to presenting the fashions of the most prominent Parisian design houses.