Gross receives grant to support conservation of School of Theatre's Fashion Archive

Photo of Charlene Gross

Charlene Gross, associate professor of theatre in costume design, has received the Costume Society of America's (CSA) College and University Collection Care Grant, which will provide funds to assist with the care and conservation of the School of Theatre's Fashion Archive. This collection of historic clothing, accessories and textiles pieces is used by the School of Theatre and other programs within the College of Arts and Architecture to guide production of historically accurate costumes, and for fashion history research and textile conservation.

“This grant will help me continue to work with the Center for Virtual/Material Studies [in the Department of Art History] to make this collection available online for the greater Penn State community, as well as anyone interested in historical clothing to use as a resource,” said Gross.

Gross has also received a Rusinko Kakos Possibilities Grant and a Faculty Research Grant from the College of Arts and Architecture, both of which enable students to work in the Fashion Archive and gain hands-on experience in textile conservation. The Fashion Archive was established by Suzanne Elder in 2012 with a College of Arts and Architecture Innovations and Initiatives Grant. With approximately 3,000 items, the archive features an array of clothing and fashion ephemera, including fashion magazines, pattern books, personal memorabilia in the form of photos and correspondences, and advertisements from the 1850s to the present. This hands-on collection is used by students, faculty and staff to study the historical significance, cultural heritage and technical specifications for designing and producing historically accurate costumes. A project to inventory and photograph the collection began in 2022 in collaboration with the Center for Virtual/Material Studies, funded in part by a Visual Resources Association Grant.