Lynne Bassett and Freake portrait

Colonialism, Power, and Identity: Fashion in American Portraits

Sunday, March 17, 2024
2:00 pm 3:00 pm

Free for Members; $5 for general public

Conference Room

Speaker: Lynne Bassett (costume and textile historian)

Fashion is often dismissed as a frivolous concern of no great importance to world events. Fashion was, in fact, an instigator of the global economy starting with the Silk Road in the 6th century. A thousand years later—in the 16th and 17th centuries—the pursuit of textiles and fashion led to empire-building, wars, colonization, the subjugation of natives, and the enslavement of Africans. The Museum’s collection of 17th-to-19th-century American portraits offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore early American fashion. Learn how its power to express identity and status shaped world events and drove individuals and countries to war to satisfy their desires.