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Happy Fall, BGC Community!

There has been a lot going on in the Study Collection this season. Our exhibition, Collecting since Covid: Study Collection Acquisitions 2020–2023, opened in September, and features a selection of the more than 1,000 objects accessioned since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 20 items from the Study Collection were utilized in the Object Lives, Moving Forward Horowitz Book Prize Symposium, where prize winners Beverly Lemire, Laura Peers, and Anne Whitelaw led an engaging hands-on workshop in an innovative, participatory format. Two classes from Parsons School of Design made visits to use our costume and textile collections: Materiality of Fashion, taught by fashion and textile historian Sarah Byrd, and Mending Fashion, taught by BGC doctoral candidate Kate Sekules. Finally, BGC Associate Professor Drew Thompson led a workshop on African metalwork in the Study Collection in conjunction with a student tour of the SIGHTLINES exhibition.

Top Left: Collecting since Covid display. Object Lab. Bottom Left: Sarah Byrd (center, preparing dress) and Parsons Materiality of Fashion class. October 2023. Object Lab. Right: BGC PhD candidate Kate Sekules (left center, in blue) and Parsons Mending Fashion class, November 2023. Object Lab.



Milton Sonday (b. 1938), renowned textile historian, woven fabric structure scholar, and former curator of textiles at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, gifted us a large collection of textile materials just before the end of the 2023 school year which included more than twenty experimental weavings made by Sonday himself. Highlights include examples of bast fiber weavings (one on its original loom), a Nigerian strip woven indigo (Àdìrẹ) cotton shawl, a ca. 1920s star pattern American quilt, and Jacquard loom cards.

Study Collection Curator Emma Cormack with Japanese “National Clothes Exhibition” scarf. Cotton or rayon. Gift of Milton Sonday.


In September, we acquired nearly fifty items—many spanning the globe—from the estate of American craft scholar and former Museum of Art and Design director Paul J. Smith (1931–2020). The gift ranges from Mexican Huichol beadwork items to Indian miniatures to Chinese opera puppet heads. Among the objects is a North African terracotta double-handled jar dating from the late 19th or early 20th century that stands over a foot and a half tall.

Left: Mexican Huichol beadwork bowl. Gift of the Estate of Paul J. Smith. Right: Study Collection Manager Barb Elam with late 19th-early 20th century North African (possibly Moroccan or Tunisian) earthenware double-handled Jar. Gift of the Estate of Paul J. Smith.

Other selected new acquisitions include:

  • Philip Treacy (Irish, 1967–) hat with irises and Dorothy Liebes (American, 1897–1972) white woven Lurex cocktail napkin, from Helen Williams Drutt Family Collection
  • Various items including Pre-Columbian pottery shards, Chinese coral brush rest, and objects from Takashimaya department store, promised gifts from Susan M. Yecies
  • Palestinian blue glass bottle, large 19th-century Sunderland lusterware presentation jug, collection of British glass rouge pots from the late 19th-early 20th century, and other items, donated by Stephen Blank in memory of Lenore Blank
  • Collection of Japanese and Turkoman costumes, several ca. 1900, donated by Helena Hernmarck in Memory of Mary Kahlenberg
  • Reticella needle-lace panel, likely 19th century, donated by Helena Hernmarck in Honor of Elma Rålamb-Hernmarck

Philip Treacy hat with irises. Helen Williams Drutt Family Collection.

Viewing Objects

The Study Collection is open for object viewing and can be accessed most weekdays. Please contact or for an appointment.