Clothing collection housed in NFA

Virginia Berg

Virginia Berg

Have you ever wondered what is on the fourth floor of the NFA building besides a few classrooms, offices and a janitor’s closet?

The fourth floor of NFA is also home to the Adaline Snellman Hisa Historic Costume Collection.

The collection, which houses seven other specialized collections, was started in 1963 by Adaline Snellman for research and teaching purposes, said Janet Stofferan, the collection’s curator.

The collection includes many interesting items such as coverlets, dresses, ball gowns, costumes and linens, including an 1820 towel and several doilies, Stofferan said.

The collection includes many interesting items some of which are coverlets, quilts, men’s formal tuxedo suits, dresses, ballgowns, costumes, and linens, including a towel from 1820 and several doilies, Stofferan said.

Stofferan also added that the collection has a hand-crocheted 1940s wedding gown, a Spanish-American War uniform and a 1920s beaded dress.

According to a pamphlet for the collection one of its earliest items is a “tan silk bonnet purchased in Kentucky during the Civil War.” Other unique items include a mourning ensemble from the 1900s, several inaugural gowns, a collection of prairie wedding dresses, an Asian art collection and a priceless collection of buttons.

Visitors can view the collection by appointment, Stofferan said.

“We are running out of room,” Stofferan said, “but we can still add another shelf.”

Stofferan also said that they don’t have any plans for moving the collection or building a museum at this time.

For more information contact the Department of Fashion Merchandising, or Stofferan in NFA 229.