For the fall term, research appointments in the FRC will generally be available on Mondays 830 am – 2 pm and Wednesday afternoons 130-6 p.m., as well as on Thursday afternoons between 4-6 p.m. The last appointment can begin no later than one hour beforehand.
Appointments must be booked in advance and are not available on short notice. Depending on the garments requested, it can take an hour to set up for a single appointment. Please make your requests with as much notice as possible.
For tips on how to make an appointment and what type of information is needed so that I can best help you with your research question, please click on the tab at the top: “How to make a Research Appointment.”
I generally advise that students read Chapters 1-5 of my book The Dress Detective: The Practical Guide to Object-based Research in Fashion before their appointment.
There are two checklists at the end of the book to guide you through the steps so that you can make the most effective use of your time. It will also be helpful to read or peruse the case studies in the book, which include historic garments, couture, undergarments, bridal wear, and menswear. This book is available online through the Ryerson library portal.
Other tips to help you make most of your appointment:
1. Do some reading in advance. Read about the designer, the time period or the type of garment that you have asked to see. For example, if you are going to study this dress by Balenciaga, read about the designer in advance. Or if you are asking to look at dresses from the Edwardian era, know the characteristics of the period. Knowing what you might expect to see will help you recognize when something is unusual. Garments have complex histories and might have been altered by the wearer.
2. Look up similar garments or designers in other collections. More museums are offering parts of their collections online. These usually do not come up in a Google search. Visit the websites of the largest collections of costume such as the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to access and search their online collection and ancillary scholarly material.
3. Bring the right tools. Your tool kit might include a pencil, notebook, camera (with the flash disabled), and perhaps a measuring tape and magnifying glass.
4. Wash your hands before your visit and be prepared to wear gloves. Leave dangling jewelry, long scarves and big backpacks in your locker.
5. Slow down. Turn off your phone and other distractions. Make a mental shift to be present and engaged.