Thursday, July 30, 2009

Costuming Research Resources: McCord Museum

Before creating or reproducing a costume, one must always do a little research. It doesn't matter if you want an absolutely perfect recreation or just a loosely inspired creation, you will want to look at some reference pictures to get an idea of what you want to make before you rush off to the store to buy fabric or accessories. Sometimes, researching for fun will also enable you to spot things in stores, such as jewelry or shoes, which you would not have noticed otherwise and would then be looking for like crazy when the time came for you to make the costume of your dreams!

For 19th and 20th century costumes, one of my favorite resources is the
McCord Museum. Their focus is always the History of Montréal, which they present through their extensive collection of artifacts, from clothing to paintings to furniture and more. I've been there a couple of times and every time, they have different pieces on display.

But this Museum is more than exhibitions: they also have a number of free on-line tools, such as interactive and educational resources, their own YouTube account with many videos on a variety of subjects, and the absolute best, their collection of 135 000 images (including the entire Notman Photographic Archives). You've already seen the Victorian Tartan Taffeta Ball Gown, shown last Saturday. Now imagine being able to look at each piece of clothing, shoes and accessories that their collection holds from the comfort of your own home!

As a sneak peek of all they have to offer a costumer, I invite you to view this video called "Form and Fashion":

At my last visit, I was told by my lovely guide that the Museum will sometimes grant access to their vault if one presents a project/demand deemed interesting enough by the Museum. That made me dream! Imagine the understanding of these historical dresses' construction I could gain if I could look at the pieces closely! One day, maybe...

(To the Museum's Human Resources - If ever you are hiring, I know my BA is in Film Study and not Museum Science, but I doubt you will find someone who knows as much about costumes, is as eager to learn, and will respect the numerous artifacts of your collection as much as me. And a bonus - I can dress-up in my own reproductions of different costume for the joy and entertainment of visitors. Oh yeah, and I'm bilingual!)

No comments:

Post a Comment