25 must-see Costume Museums for a Fashion enthusiast


If you are a fashion aficionado who is passionate about the costumes of the world, you are going to feel like Alice-in-her-wonderland after going through the extensive and diverse collections of clothes on exhibit in the websites of the costume museums listed here, if you cannot go there yourself.

Costume Museums

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England

This world famous museum of art and design, houses about 2.3 million art objects. Out of that their costume and textile collections are stupendous. Their website says that they have “the largest and most comprehensive collection of dresses in the world”

You can look at their online collection here 

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, USA

A prestigious part of the premier fashion institute of the world, the Fashion Institute of Technology, this museum offers a great deal to fashion and textile buffs. “The museum’s permanent collection encompasses some 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present”. It also conducts many student and faculty exhibitions, and educational programs that include free lectures, panel discussions, fashion conversations, and guided tours.

Find more details here. 

Costume Gallery of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

The museum has more than 24,000 items including clothes and accessories from the period between the late 17th century to the beginning of the 21st century. You can find their website with the details of the museum here.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Newyork, USA

This world-famous museum has many departments but for a fashion enthusiast, it’s Anna Wintour Costume Center will be of specific interest. It has a collection of more than 33000 costumes and accessories from all over the world from the 15th century to the present.

Find more details on the museum and other details here

Fashion Museum, Bath, England

The Fashion Museum houses about 100,000 costumes out of which 165 dressed figures will be on display. You can find some of the collections on their website here.

Museum of the City of New York, USA

The Costume and Textiles Collection of this museum has approximately 26,000 objects in its collection, mostly clothing of the people of New York from 17th century to the present. 

You can find details on their website here

RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design , Rhode Island, USA

The Angelo Donghia Costume and Textiles Study Center and its companion gallery have more than 26,000 objects related to textiles and clothing from all around the world from 1500 BCE to now in permanent display.

You can find some of them here.

Nordiska Museum  in Stockholm, Sweden

Nordiska Museum is Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history with the largest collection of costumes and fashion in Sweden and exhibits over one and a half million related objects.

You can checkout the website here for more details.

Fries Museum, Netherland

Costumes spanning the whole of Europe from France to Scandinavia and local traditional costumes of the Netherland can be found in this museum’s collection.

You can find some of them in their website here.

Musée des Arts Asiantique Guimet (Guimet Musée) in Paris

The museum focuses on Asian art and has a vast and diverse collection of artwork from Asian countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Korea, India, and Japan.

You can find the website of the museum here.

The fashion and costume Museum, Brussles

As mentioned on its website “the City of Brussels Fashion & Lace Museum has over 10,000 items of clothing, lace and accessories from the 16th century to the present day”.

Their online collection can be accessed on their website here.

Hungarian National Museum, Hungary

About 26000 clothing items of historical importance from the period ranging from 16th to the 20th century are exhibited in this huge Museum.

You can find details on their website here.

Historic Costume Museum, Hawai

There is a wonderful collection of clothing from all over the world in this museum. You can find details here 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA

They have extensive galleries with a remarkable permanent collection of textiles. These are all carefully preserved under the supervision of the members of the LACMA Conservation Center for the enjoyment of all the history and art admirers of the world.

Here is the page on their website exploring fashion from 1900-2000.

Chicago History Museum, Illinois, USA

This is a museum which follows the culture and art of Chicago and America. The costume and textile collection in this museum amounting to about 50000 gives us a glimpse of life in Chicago from the 18th century. 

You can have a look at some of the collections (digital collection) here

Palais Galliera, Paris, France

This museum was till recently called  Musée Galliera and The Société de l’Histoire du Costume, before that. It is very renowned for its vast collection of costumes and houses costumes of iconic french fashion designers like Balenciaga.

You can find more details here.

The Russian Museum of Ethnography, St. Petersburg, Russia

It is a museum for the indigenous folk arts of Russia with over 250,000 precious and wonderous objects on display; many costumes from the Russian Empire are also displayed here. You can find their online collection here

Kyoto Costume Institute, Kyoto, Japan

This museum showcases western clothing and has a collection of about “13,000 items of clothing and 20,000 documents” that spans modern fashion from 17th century to the present.

More details can be found here

German Historical Museum, Berlin

This museum houses many objects of historical value belonging to the German history and includes about 8,000 pieces of non-military clothing dating from the middle of the 18th century up to the present.

You can find the museum website here.

The Goldstein Museum of Design  (GMD), University of Minnesota, USA

An extensive collection of costumes. Some of them can be found on their website here.

Kent State University Museum

This museum has a fine collection of costumes representing American and European fashion from the 18th century to the present day. You can find a sample of the costumes here.

Fashion collection at College of Visual Arts and Design, University of North Texas, USA

They have an extensive collection of historic clothes as well as clothes designed by some of the top fashion designers of the world. Some of them can be seen on this website here.

The Costume Museum at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), China

This museum has a collection of over 10000 articles including ethnic costumes. You can find their website here

Heriot watt university, Costume collection, Scotland

This university museum has a collection of women’s garments from the late 19th century to the 1980s. Some pictures from the collection can be seen here and here.

The Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad, India

This museum houses rare collections of Indian textiles dating back to the 17th century but other than that it has a diverse collection of clothes as well. You can checkout the website here

Other museums with quite impressive costume collections

The Bowes Museum, England

This museum is located in the ancestral home of John Bowes, the son of the 10th Earl of Strathmore in Teesdale, Barnard Castle, County Durham. It was opened to public in 1892. The museum has a diverse collection which also includes many costumes of the period.

Manchester Art Gallery, England

You can have a look at the costumes by Designer Christian Dior in the website of the gallery here.

The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, England

The costume collection in this museum is located in the Fashion and style gallery. The museum houses a number of men’s, women’s and children’s dresses and accessories from the 16th century to the present day from the British Isles, Western Europe and North America. 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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