We can let the cat out of the bag now – the Fashion History Museum has a new location! The initial stages of securing the property are now complete and although there are still some more hurdles to get over if all goes well we should be opening our doors about a year from now. An article that appeared in today’s Waterloo Region Record by Martin DeGroot covers the details:
The ‘Museum Without Walls’ Finally Gets Some
“The announcement isn’t quite official yet, but it has been confirmed that the Fashion History Museum (FHM) has finally found a home.
Since the project was founded in 2004, and from the time it became part the regional cultural scene in 2007, this unique creative enterprise has been operating as a “museum without walls.”
Under the leadership of co-founders Kenn Norman (chair) and Jonathan Walford (curatorial director), the collection has grown steadily: It now includes more than 10,000 garments.
They’ve also built an extensive library and archives of fashion-related publications and documents, and created numerous exhibits that have been on display in places nearby, across Canada, and as far away as Hong Kong and Bahrain.
But except for a short-lived experiment with a storefront space at Southworks in Galt, there has been no ongoing physical presence, and the address has always been a Cambridge post office box.
The address will remain in Cambridge, but it’s a north of the 401 location. And it’s not a P.O. box, but an actual post office building that was built in 1922 and served the Hespeler community until it was decommissioned in 1993.
Hespeler’s Old Post Office – 74 Queen Street, Cambridge. The future home of the Fashion History Museum
So there are two dynamic building projects in Cambridge that involve repurposing old post office sites, one in Galt led by Idea Exchange (Cambridge Libraries & Galleries), and now this one in Hespeler.
In this case, the project involves leasing the space from a landlord who cares about the building and its heritage, the Hespeler community, as well as the vision and purpose of the museum.
A grant from Arts Connect Cambridge, a volunteer city committee dedicated to supporting arts organizations and individual artist’s projects, has helped secure the location.
It’s not a large space, but there’s ample room for galleries, office, the library and archive, as well as the collection.
Getting it ready is going to take some time. The original idea was to aim for the late spring, but after hearing about plans for some major reconstruction work in downtown Hespeler next summer, a fall opening started looking more feasible.
There are a number of programs in the works that will keep the museum in the public eye until the doors of the new facilities open about a year from now.
To begin with, there’s the Street Style exhibit developed with the Waterloo Region Museum as part of the Building Waterloo Region festival of architecture that ran over the summer. An exploration of the connections between the design of women’s fashion and architecture in Waterloo County between 1873 and 1973, Street Style will remain on display until January 15.
At the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives down the road in Brampton, an FHM exhibit called Waist Management — “a visual journey through three centuries of sensational corsets, crinolines, bustles and bras that have been used to idealize the female form since the late 18th century” — will run from November to February.
Norman and Walford are also looking forward to continuing the longstanding FHM relationship with the Grand River Film Festival when it returns November 3-8. Their contribution will be an exhibit related to Hollywood costume designer Adrian, whose most famous work was for the “The Wizard of Oz,” which reaches its 75th anniversary this year.
The first public event at the new site will be a vintage clothing sale involving a dozen dealer booths and the South Central Sausage food truck from Southworks on November 22.
We can also look forward to a major event themed around the fashions featured in the “Mad Men” television series in the spring.
To keep up with what’s happening with the Fashion History Museum while its new home in Hespeler is under development, visit FashionHistoryMuseum.com or send a request to be added to the subscriber list for their quarterly newsletter by phone (519-620-0009) or email (info@FashionHistoryMuseum.com).