Wearing fashionable clothing has long been a way for people to overcome their fears and face the world with confidence, as evidenced by the boost acrophobics got with the emergence of the parachute pant. Step back in time for a lesson on triumphant trends with today’s Groupon: for $12, you get one annual pass, which includes free unlimited admission for a year, four one-time guest passes, a 20% discount in the museum store, and exclusive invites to events, to the Kent State University Museum (a $25 value). The pass is only valid if activated in the next two months.
Since 1985, the Kent State University Museum has served as a time-traveling portal for fashion and design, allowing style-stalkers to admire some of the world’s most exquisite dresses, costumes, paintings, and furniture dating back to the 18th century. The museum came into being when two New York dress manufacturers, Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers, donated 4,000 costumes and accessories, nearly 1,000 pieces of decorative art, and a 5,000-volume reference library. A year later the museum was fortified with 10,000 pieces of American glass, from Akron antique collectors Jabe Tarter and Paul Miller, which had been carefully guarded from errant baseball throws and juggle-hungry clowns. Today the eight galleries feature a revolving door of exhibits from world-famous artists and designers, highlighting the cultural and artistic significance of fashion.
The museum currently houses five exhibits, including actress and fashion icon Katharine Hepburn’s personal collection of film, stage, and television costumes, from productions such as The Philadelphia Story and her Emmy-winning television movie Love Among the Ruins. The New and Noteworthy exhibit includes a space suit from astronaut Carl Walz, and the Collectors and Collecting exhibit explores the psyche of hard-core hoarders, offering answers to why people collect things such as coins, stamps, and dryer lint. Future exhibits include On the Home Front, a detailed look at Civil War fashions and domestic life. The Katherine Hepburn exhibit is sponsored by Time Warner Cable, H/L Communications, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and WCLV.