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York Castle Museum has an important collection of dress and textiles. It is internationally known and nationally important.
Consisting of 30,000 items, and one of the largest provincial collections in the country, it represents western European fashion from 1700 to the present with particular strengths in the 1800s and early 1900s.
The collection reflects mainstream fashions exemplified in the clothes worn by ordinary men, women and children. There are outstanding and important collections of the following: fans, shawls, underwear, parasols, bags and purses, women's dresses and children's clothes.
There are also important, supporting collections of printed material – magazines, journals, fashion-plates and photographs.
The large and comprehensive textiles collection features English domestic textiles and domestic textiles crafts from the early 1700s to the present. The quilt and needlework-tool collections are internationally known while the sampler collection is particularly fine.
Textiles in the Victorian Parlour
Take a closer look at the costume and textiles on show around our museum in our downloadable Follow the Thread trail.
There are highlights to look at in every gallery of the museum.
Plus you can now hear our curators talk about the hidden gems of our collection in a series of new films giving a peek behind the scenes of our costume and textiles stores.
Watch our first film Wartime Fashions on YouTube. This film takes a look at clothing from the time of the Second World War and post-war rationing.
The films have been made as part of a year-long project funded by the Monument Trust and the Museums Association which involves inviting back former members of staff to share their knowledge and expertise with our current staff.