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Chicago History Museum’s New Exhibition Shares Ten Never-Been-Exhibited Ensembles

Mar 14 2022

The Chicago History Museum’s newest exhibition Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection will be open to the public starting Saturday, April 9, 2022, and run through Monday, January 16, 2023. The exhibition features an eclectic arrangement of garments from the Chicago History Museum’s clothing collection of more than 50,000 pieces. These ten never-been-exhibited ensembles were selected to tell the remarkable stories of five designers Stephen Burrows, Scotty Piper, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, and Barbara Bates.  

“I am excited for people to view these ten never before displayed garments created by five innovative designers who each have a fascinating story to tell,” said Jessica Pushor, collections manager of costume and textiles at the Chicago History Museum.  

Dating from the 1970s to the 1980s, these garments are expressions of their creators’ experiences and identities. In their experiences dressing celebrity clientele as well as everyday people, each designer produced engaging, conscientious, and stylish designs while contributing their own perspectives to fashion. 

“Having spent many years inventorying and cataloging the collection, I am always amazed by the objects I come across.” said Pushor. “This exhibit is a new opportunity to publicly showcase previously unseen treasures from our massive costume collection, and to be more inclusive in the Chicago stories we tell. 

Exhibition Overview  

Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection will be presented in a single gallery with 10 dressed mannequins wearing two ensembles by each designer. The gallery will also feature a playlist of songs that inspired each designer and several thematic arrangements of images and colorful panels unfolding around the walls and interior of the gallery.  

Museum members can enjoy early access to the exhibition on Friday, April 8, during a preview night with co-curators Jessica Pushor and Charles E. Bethea, and special guest Barbara Bates. The Chicago History Museum is partnering with University of Illinois at Chicago and The Crafty Corner for a teen program “Chicago Threads.” This will be an 8-week summer design program, which will culminate in a fashion show in late summer 2022.  

This exhibition is sponsored by The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum 

For more information on Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection please visit:

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