BIG CHANGES - The Museum of Costume BATH

The Museum of Costume is undergoing and extensive redisplay until Friday 22nd June 2007 to transform it into the FASHION MUSEUM.

The Museum of Costume focuses on fashionable dress for men, women and children from the late 16th century to the present day and has more than 30,000 objects in its collection.

Within the collection there are a number of individual collections of clothes and fashion accessories, such as the Dress of the Year collection and an important loan collection of decorative gloves belonging to the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London.

The Museum has been designated by MLA (the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives) as an outstanding collection of national pre-eminence.

We display about only part of the collection at a time. The displays are changed regularly. Everything in the collection can be viewed - just contact us to book a study table.

The Museum of Costume was opened in the Bath Assembly Rooms in 1963. It was the creation of Doris Langley Moore, a designer, collector and historian, who gave her famous private collection of costume to the city.


Understand more closely the life of your great great grandmother at the Museum of Costume’s new display and dressing-up opportunity CORSETS uncovered.

The gallery display includes a representative selection of historic corsets, displayed alongside images of real women in carte de visite photographs from the 19th century. The real experience comes with the replica corsets in the gallery, available for adults and for children to try on. This is the way to explore how corsets work, how they feel to wear and how they alter the way you stand and sit.

A hundred and fifty years ago, almost every woman wore a corset. A corset was an essential part of a woman’s dress, vital for achieving the shape necessary for the fashions of the day. To our eyes today, the corset appears an instrument of torture, a symbol of repression of the body, and about as far away from the modern way of dressing as you can get.

This new hands-on area at the Museum of Costume sets out to bridge the gap between then and now, between what happened in fashion in the past and our up-to-the moment perception of the modes of yesteryear.

The Museum is undergoing an extensive re-display between February and May 2007. Please check here for details of the areas that are open during these dates.