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RTM Department: Betty D. Eastin Collection: Betty D. Eastin Costume Collection

This research guide acts as a resource for those interested in the field of historic costume. This guide was created by Sarah K. Piester for her Master of Science degree in Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles.

Looking for photos? Visit Eastin Collection: Hats

About the Costume Collection

The Betty D. Eastin Historic Costume Collection

The Betty D. Eastin Historic Costume Collection is an educational, scholarly, and artistic resource for the University of Kentucky Department of Retailing & Tourism Management (RTM). Textiles are important indices of the life experience as primary sources of information about people and culture.  This unique Kentucky decorative art costume collection provides educational resources which further the understanding of human beings within their material and social environments through the study of textiles of artistic, cultural, and historic significance. This collection serves as a valuable asset and resource to the students, department, college, university, community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Our Mission regarding the Historic Costume Collection is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret textile, apparel and accessory items that support the RTM Department for education, research, and community outreach.

The collection is housed on the third floor of Erikson Hall and is comprised of approximately 1500 artifacts ranging in dates from 1870 to the 1970s. The collection began in 1973 as a teaching tool with: women’s, men’s, and children’s garments; household textiles, lace and trim samples; and a collection of dolls from around the world. The women’s clothing collection includes several pieces that are of particular significance including the Lexington native Belle Brezing collection, Kentucky–born Mona Von Bismarck apparel, and an extensive hat collection. Currently the collection is being used in teaching, research, for exhibition and education. The international doll collection has been on exhibit at the Explorium and the Lexington Public Library. In 1995, the hat collection was on exhibit as “On Top Of It All: Hats Women Wore” at the Headly-Whitney Museum. 


Hats from the 1995 exhibit are showcased on this research guide.


Visit the School of Human Environmental Sciences website.

Collection description taken from the Retailing & Tourism Department website.