Richmond native becomes curator of clothing and textiles at the Missouri Historical Society

Richmond native becomes curator of attire and textiles at the Missouri Historical Society
Eastern Kentucky University graduate Adam MacPharlain has perhaps one of the most interesting “closets” around.

It’s nearly 20,000 bits of clothing and textiles.

A few of the items in the collection are hundreds of years old and period the gamut from basic gloves and hats to ornate beaded dresses.

MacPharlain doesn’t wear some of it, however.

Instead, it’s his work to safeguard, catalogue, and manage the collection.

MacPharlain is the hottest curator of attire and textiles for the Missouri Historical Contemporary society and manages their collections of historic textiles and clothes.

It is a job that speaks to him.

“We all wear clothing,” MacPharlain said. “… These clothing talk with the personality of the individual who wore them. It speaks to things that they do, or their occupation. It’s ways to connect to what they experienced.”

MacPharlain was born and raised in Richmond, attended Style Laboratory School, and visited Eastern Kentucky University to get his bachelor’s level in apparel style and merchandising.

MacPharlain said while in EKU, he had the chance to have a course on the annals of fashion in the western world.

It was that class that resulted in his interest ever sold.

During this course, he received the opportunity to work with historical pieces.

Getting a prospect to hold the historical pieces, examining them, and being the physical link with history and the persons who wore them eventually led him to be the Missouri Historical Society’s clothing and textile curator.

MacPharlain said he isn’t the only the one which feels a deep link with background when examining historical clothing items.

“When people go found in and see these apparel pieces on display, there is a tangible connection to the lives that persons wore and the histories that attire, or that match, or that quilt displays,” MacPharlain explained.

After graduating from EKU, MacPharlain was hooked on the history behind fashions and visited graduate school in England for a year.

He then came back to the says and graduated in 2007.

However, right after his graduation was the start of the recession.

MacPharlain said it took him some time to obtain a steady job.

When he did, he wound up doing work for the University of Kentucky’s artwork museum for approximately two years. He then moved to Kansas City, Missouri, for employment at the National Museum of Gadgets and Miniatures.

This job, however, was simply a contract job. When it was over, he made his in the past to Kentucky and worked well at the Kentucky Traditional Society in Frankfort.

While in the Kentucky Historical Society, MacPharlain said he previously the chance to use the Churchill Weavers collection - a collection from a hand weaving operation found in Berea which operated until 2007.

MacPharlain said he became thus engrossed in the Churchill Weavers history he is working on a book about them.

After that, MacPharlain transferred to Cincinnati, where he performed for the art museum for six years.

In January, he took a job at the Missouri Historical Culture.

“I’ve been all over the place,” MacPharlain said with fun. However, he's glad to come to be where he's now.

“It’s a museum which does a whole lot of amazing points,” MacPharlain explained. “I’m actually excited to be always a area of the team.”

MacPharlain said the collection in the Missouri Historical Culture contains almost 20,000 bits of clothing and textiles.

The collection focuses mainly on clothes and textiles from the St. Louis region, but they likewise have things from throughout Missouri. These items date back to the 1700s up to the present day. MacPharlain said the collection includes a couple of ensembles in one of the founders of St. Louis - as well as his wife.

“The collection consists of a small amount of everything and anything,” MacPharlain said.

MacPharlain said, currently there are two collecting initiatives the Historical Culture is putting on to obtain more bits from Missouri’s African American network and Missouri’s LGBTQ community.

He explained from these initiatives; the Historical Society has received an extensive collection from an African American dancer from the 20th century, comprising the bits she wore or her dance provider used. They have also received various things linked to pride situations for LGBTQ and also linked to gay bars and different venues throughout St. Louis and the surrounding area.

MacPharlain said the Historical Society’s collection as well features “glamorous” ballgowns and wedding gowns.

On display now at the Missouri History Museum, there can be an exhibition called, “Beyond The Ballot” and targets woman’s suffrage in St. Louis.

MacPharlain said there is very a little of clothing contained in the exhibit.

The curator said he's currently working on the next exhibit focused on St. Louis music, called “St. Louis Audio.” The exhibition will give attention to musicians, including most significant kinds, such as for example Tina Turner.

MacPharlain said the museum is expected to receive a part from Nelly, which he's very excited about.

The curator said he is excited to manage to share his love of the historical pieces with others also to help share a reference to days gone by through clothing and textiles.

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