Yates County Historical Costume Collection Stewardship and Evaluation

Worksite Location
CCE Yates County
Project Dates
June 1 - August 1
Faculty Sponsor
Denise N. Green, Fiber Science & Apparel Design
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Arlene Wilson, Executive Director, CCE Yates County; John Potter, On-Site Supervisor
Stipend Amount
$4,000
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Yates County History Center [located in the Finger Lakes] seeks continuous quality improvement in museum display, computerized inventory, storage of historical costumes and related artifacts.   The History Center will facilitate a student from the Fiber Science and Design Program, who has experience in the Cornell’s Costume and Textile Collection to evaluate and make recommendations for bringing the Yates County History Center’s registration-record system up to current costume collection curation standards.   The student will inventory, research, evaluate and apply best practices for the preservation, storage, display and use of subsets of the collection’s military uniforms, clothing and personal articles that spans the years 1760 through the 1960’s.  [There are over 2,200 historical items registered in Yates County History Center’s costume collection as of December 1, 2016.] There is also a need for curation specific outcomes, such as: the recommendation for a database thematic inventory mechanism and the creation of several mannequins proportioned to fit a smaller populace from historical time periods.    The student, in conjunction with the Curator and docent volunteers, will host a workshop for Finger Lakes area 4-H youth who are active in the Living History programming club, providing education on every day and special occasion clothing and accessories of the men, women and children who lived and worked in Yates County.  A final report will be generated on the present on-site storage conditions and practices, which may include modifications and/or recommendations that will be used as part of the Yates County History Center’s Long Range Plan for the costume collection for the next five years. 

Roles and Responsibilities

The Yates CCE internship with Yates County History Center requires the student to:  a. Review computer database of historical costume for consistency and updating recommendations b. Update database will be used for the Center’s on-going costume tracking, care and selection process  c. Evaluate and report on the present on-site storage conditions and practices against the above collection evaluations  d. Design/build mannequins for display e. Conceptualize/recommend future event displays f. Conceptualize/recommend 4-H Living History play/educational workshop g. Document experience via social media. h. Other Cornell faculty duties as assigned 

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The internship with Yates Cornell Cooperative Extension requires student possess the following: a. Completion of FSAD 1250 Art Design and Visual Thinking b. Have experience working in the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection or other museum collection c. Own transportation to/from work sites d. EXCEL and Data entry skills e. Knowledge of Microsoft Office  f. Knowledge of social media platforms g. Preferred: a. Public speaking skills  b. Good writing skills c. Demonstrated experience and knowledge in costume history and enthusiasm to learn, apply and share same with others. 

Benefits and Skills

The internship with Yates Cornell Cooperative Extension will provide student with the following outcomes:  a. Student will gain knowledge of historical costume conservation and preservation b. Student will gain historical collection management and research experience through inventorying the collection c. Student will gain curatorial experience in display of historical costumes d. Student will gain experience is community education through historical costume programming.