Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume & Textiles
for the Western Reserve Historical Society
What do you do at WRHS?
I’m the Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles. I care for a large collection, which means everything from vacuuming storage to bringing in new garments. I act both as a collections manager and a curator, so I conduct a lot of archival research, plan and write exhibits, and do the installation too.
Why is it important?
For me, clothing provides a relatable link to the past that helps make it relevant. It can be transformative and transportive. So while it might seem frivolous to some, working with textiles helps preserve artifacts that remind us of who we were, are, and will be. Clothes open to doors to much larger conversations about class, race, sexuality, and humanity.
Why is history important to you?
Understanding history helps us know who we are, and why. Without knowing about the struggles and successes of the people that came before us, we wouldn’t know why our world is the way it is, for better or for worse.
Do you have a favorite figure from history that motivates you?
I’m inspired by the women who’ve lived in Cleveland before me. I’m currently researching Amanda Wicker, who moved to Cleveland in the 1920s and opened a dressmaking and design school that was successful for six decades. She had to face the discrimination of being a woman and being Black, but did it with dignity and used sewing skills to teach people survival skills, workforce readiness, and a sense of community. I wish I could have met her.