Department or Program

Interdisciplinary Studies


For decades, the Bates Department of Theater and Dance has received donations of contemporary, vintage, and antique clothing from local residents, faculty, staff, students’ families, and alumni. Often, these donations are unable to be worn on stage due to age or condition; over the years, many unwearable, but still intact, antique clothes have filled box after box in costume storage. These dress history artifacts, representing everyday New England fashion from 1840 to 1930, present countless opportunities for study and research by students and faculty alike, but one issue has persisted in limiting their utility: nobody knew what the collection actually contained. This thesis, the culmination of an independent interdisciplinary major in Digital Archives, aims to develop this unintentionally-acquired collection into a legitimate, usable Bates College Clothing Archive. Combining a theoretical lens with practical, hands-on collection management, this multifaceted thesis project provides a path forward for the Bates College Clothing Archive as a study collection, accessible through both physical and digital archives. The written portion of this project traces the development of both fashion history and collections management as facets of the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) Industry, before discussing the applications of contemporary collections management practices in the development of the Bates College Clothing Archive, and culminates in the creation of a public-facing collections database using Omeka, tying together theory and practice.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

McDowell, B. Christine

Second Advisor

Shrout, Anelise

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 PDF file

Open Access

Available to all.