Saturday, March 8, 2014

Costume Collections of the World - A Collaborative Google Map Project

Readers, I have a favor to ask of you. You may or may not know that I am in a graduate program for Museum Studies, and that I spend a large portion of my week interning in the Collections Department of a mid-size museum. Until now, I have not attempted to combine my professional interest in museums with my profound love of sewing, but I think that this should change. There are some very obvious links between the two:

Museums are places of informal learning. People who go are self-motivated and don't have to follow any prescribed curriculum.

touch screen access to the collections at Gallery One, Cleveland Museum of Art

The online sewing community is a place of informal learning. The learners are amazingly self-motivated. We dictate the content, we teach each other, and we're creative, daring, supportive, and smart (not to brag or anything).

top left: Tilly and the Buttons "Learn to Sew" series, top right: Craftsy online craft course collection
bottom left: Sewing.PatternReview ginormous sewing community, bottom right: House of Pinheiro sewing blogger meet-up

Also, museums hold tremendous collections of costumes, textiles, and fashion-related artifacts - and people who sew love to ogle them.

Whenever I'm in class, I constantly imagine how the material is relevant to the sewing community. Yes, I am that obnoxious person who will not shut up about their personal hobby in class, constantly interjecting how the topic of the moment reminds her of sewing because blah blah blah.

While I'm sure this bores my classmates to no end, I know that you would understand. Some recent comments from a professor and also from my husband have motivated me to take these connections I keep making between sewing and museums and actually do something useful with them. So I've been working on a small project for starters, inspired entirely by Vicki's Map the Sewintists project.

(Did you know that the Map of Sewintists has over 500 pins now and 230,000+ views? That's what happens when the power of the internet meets the power of lifelong learners and sewing enthusiasts.)

So in a shameless spinoff of Vicki's excellent idea, I present to you another Google Map for the sewing inclined - Costume Collections of the World.

It only has a handful of pins right now, and that's where the favor I'm asking comes in. If you are so inclined, please help me build this map by adding your own pins for costume collections and museums you have visited or heard about. Or spread the word around and share the link - anyone is welcome to add and edit! (Of course, please be respectful of other people's work and don't needlessly delete things.)

Adding locations to the map is relatively straight forward and can be done in two ways:

1. You can enter the museum name in the search bar and add it to the map that way. Just click on the green pin that appears on the map, then click "Add to map."

2. You can click on the "Add marker" button located directly below the search bar and add a pin that way. Give your pin a title and a short description. A link to the museum's webpage is very helpful!

You can also add photos by clicking on a pin, clicking on "Edit" (pencil icon), and then clicking on the camera icon. You can add photos found online or upload your own if you've visited the museum yourself and would like to share. Just be sure to click "Save" when you're done editing each location.

If you want more info on editing Google Maps, you can click here.

I've had some difficulty adding museums located in countries where English is not the official language - Google Maps doesn't like searching for non-English addresses using English. So if you speak another language, I would especially appreciate any assistance adding locations from other countries! I also welcome any recommendations on how to improve the map or organize the contents better.

My hope for this map is that it becomes a helpful resource for anyone interested in sewing, fashion, textiles, etc., whether they are sewists on vacation, researchers looking for information, or people who like to browse online museum collections looking for inspiration. Thanks everyone for listening, and let me know what you think!


Thanks to everyone who has already added! The map already has twice as many locations as I added myself!

I've also noticed that it's extremely easy to accidentally delete or move something without meaning to. If this happens to you, just press ctrl+Z and you can quickly undo any mistake.


  1. Hey, I added a couple places in Greece that I came across in my own studies, however I had difficulty adding The Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace ( Textile and textile production is a main theme throughout the museum, including mills used for cloth finishing and fulling, and costumes of Greek Macedonia and Thrace.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for adding. I think I pinned down the FEMM-T in the right space, but you're right. The Google Map search feature wouldn't find it. If it looks off, let me know!

  2. I added Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of NZ. It is a general museum but has a good textile collection (mostly visible online, there is a small changing display all the time). As far as I know there are no dedicated textile museums in NZ so this is a proxy!

    1. Thank you Lyndle! It's nice to get some action in a new area of the map.

  3. I've quickly added a couple of Canadian textile museums that I've visited. I'll go back later and add some more (when I'm not at work……oops)

    Thanks for the link and new blog traffic!

    1. Thanks for the additions Vicki! (and for the idea!)

  4. I noticed LACMA is not on the map. Is this because it's costume collections are not on permanent display?

    1. Hi Quondame - there's a lot that's not on the map yet just because there's so many places with costume collections and adding them all will take time. But anyone is welcome to add! I just looked into the LACMA collections, and I will go ahead and add it.