Middle-school students learn about historic textiles at the Avenir Museum

Girls examining historic textiles

Story by Brooklyn Benjamin

The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising welcomed 20 middle school students on June 15 and 17 for the 2021 session of Fashion FUNdamentals, a two-week STEM-based program run by faculty, staff, and graduate students from the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. After the program was postponed during 2020 due to COVID-19, museum staff were excited to offer a seminar to the students to explore how STEM concepts connect to global textiles, museums, and the preservation of historic textiles.

Garments from around the world

Museum staff displayed garments from around the world in the classroom, where students interacted with a Japanese kimono, mola from the Kuna people of the San Blas Islands in Panama, as well as an Indian sari. There were many questions from the students regarding techniques used in making the garments, as well as the museum’s role in preserving the textiles. While in the classroom, the students were educated on museum care and handling standards, and how these practices protect the textiles.

Mannequins dressed in a rainbow of 20th century fashion pieces greeted the students during their exclusive tour of the museum’s collections storage space. They used museum preservation techniques while examining a variety of museum objects, such as lotus slippers from China, a CSU Rams football helmet, and garments from the 1880s. Fun was had by students and museum staff alike. The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is thankful to be able to safely host Fashion FUNdamentals students once again and use the collection to educate younger generations on the connection between STEM-related fields and the history of fashion.