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Museum of Costume, great for fashion lovers or students.
Museum of Costume (Bath)
Member Name: alfiepeaches
Museum of Costume (Bath)
Date: 01/08/12, updated on 01/08/12 (22 review reads)
Advantages: variety, 20th century dresses are best, informative,cheapish
Disadvantages: bit boring and some parts are messy and naff,
Me and my friend made a road trip especially to visit the Museum of Costume as she was doing a Romanticism inspired fashion project and we both have an interest in old style dresses from 1600-1800s and history. We live just outside Bournemouth and it took us about 2 hours to get there and we parked for free and caught a bus into the centre, from the centre of Bath it look us about 20minutes to walk find the museum, we didn't use a google maps or ask for directions as Bath is very well signposted and just by following these signs we got there very easily.
The admission fee is £7.50 or £15.75 if you want a combined ticket to see the roman baths too, our tickets cost about a £1 less as I had a student card and my friend had a national trust sticker from her car. You are then given an audio guide for extra information on the displays and clothes. We visited on a school day (the day we are not timetabled for) so it was pretty empty and we only saw about 10 other people during the tour. Everything is in a glass case and no pictures are allowed as the flash can fade the fabric of the clothes, although we were a bit naughty and still took pictures but with the flash off.
The first part of the museum is sport clothes from past Olympics and typical holiday clothes for hot and old countries across the decades. Some of these are quite interesting but some were a little boring for me but they are set out really clear with labels or what they are. The next part is the most exciting as it is the best of the 20th century dresses, they are all very beautiful and it's impressive to see how small the dresses are and you can imagine how heavy the dresses would have been. The audio guide was really helpful here giving a lot of interesting information on each dress. This led onto the another collection of 17th century gloves which were beautiful as they were so detailed.
The next section of the museum is dressing up! We found this really fun as the clothes are so different to what we wear now, we tried on different types of hats, riding jackets and our favourites were big hooped skirts and corsets (just managed to squeeze in!). As well as being fun to dress up and take funny pictures they are also quite informative because they are made to be the actual sizes and weights of the clothes from past eras so it gives you idea of what wearing them would have been like.
There was a large room with glass rooms full of many different old dresses for daywear, weddings and funerals. This room was quite dull as most of the clothes inside weren't on full view and were displayed as if they were hanging in a wardrobe or packed in boxes. This room also seemed especially dark too which made it quite hard to see. In the corner was a table with felt tips where you can leave postcards that feature a figure for children to draw their own dress designs on and then on the back to leave feedback of the museum.
The last part of the museum is the longest and is clothes that show certain styles like the 20s,40s, 60s which gave an overall style of each era which was quite interesting to see how fashion changed over the years and would be helpful for younger people becoming interested in fashion. There were different attire for musical genres and some outfits actually worn by some artists, although these weren't very impressive and I thought they looked pretty naff. There were also a large amount of outfits from a large variety of different designers from the 90s and early 2000s, I was at first really excited by this however most of the outfits on display seemed to be less popular from their seasons and didn't look that impressive.
The very last outfits you see are 'top trends' where the museum uses vintage clothes to recreate the current trends, at the time we went it was pastels and lots of flower prints. I really liked this idea however I think overall it just looked like a jumble sale of clothes all chucked on, there was the odd thing that looked really good though. You then finish the entire tour of the museum and can visit the gift shop. The gift shop is very small and very fashion orientated as you would expect. It had two walls full of different fashion, pattern and icon books which I really wish I had bought some money for as I really wanted some of them. There were a few books that contained high quality photos of many of the clothes in the museum which my friend bought as it was very good, especially for the price as it was fairly cheap. There was also usual museum merchandise like stationery, bits of jewellery, kids things and postcards. I didn't buy anything but would have liked to.
Overall I think I would recommend the Bath Costume Museum but only to people who really have an interest in fashion and costume as it is very informative with a large variety of clothes to see, very helpful for art/fashion students. Some of it can be quite boring however this may just be because I generally wasn't interested in some of the parts and found some a bit naff. I can see myself visiting again but only as research for my course not as a fun day out, it's always great to see things in person though, plus the exhibitions change on a regular basis. I wouldn't recommend it to people who have no interest in clothes or the history of clothes and costumes as they would find it boring and a waste of money. I do think£7 is a little expensive for what is on offer at the museum and the cost would be fairer at £5.
Summary: a must for fashion students and lovers but not one else
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