Clothes make the man, so in order to understand the cultural, social, and economic lives of the men and women of High Plains history, we need to consider what they wore. Our extensive textiles exhibit changes regularly to cover almost every category imaginable, from evening gowns and uniforms to shoes, cowboy hats, quilts, and other accessories. Spanning 125 years, the largest part of the collection dates from the early- and mid-twentieth century—including a wedding dress from every decade between 1870 and 1970.
Want numbers? There are nearly 14,500 items in our textile collection, 70 percent of which are women’s clothing and accessories (men’s items comprise an additional 15 percent, children and infant items another 5 percent). Among the rest of the collection are more than 175 quilts of various sizes, including a spectacular reverse appliqué quilt produced in 1809. Other household items include pillows, tablecloths, southwestern woven textiles, and more.