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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday February 16, 2018

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Dieter Suls

Dieter Suls

Librarian , Fashion Museum of Antwerp

Capturing Fashion in the 20th Century with Frieda Dauphin-Verhees' Study Collection

After collecting fashion objects for almost her entire life, costume design teacher Frieda Dauphin-Verhees decided to donate a part of her impressive clothing archive to the Antwerp Fashion Museum - MoMu. Through a crowdfunding campaign via, in collaboration with Europeana, MoMu raised the funding to create an educational tool from her collection.

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The Frieda Dauphin-Verhees' Study Collection. MoMu.

Frieda Dauphin-Verhees is a costume designer who collected clothing and accessories throughout her entire life. Her collection consists of thousands of objects, from dresses from the roaring twenties and skirts from the fifties, to power pumps from the eighties. During Frieda’s career as a costume designer, these pieces inspired her work for theatre and movies. Later in her life, when Frieda taught costume design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, her students researched costume history using her collection. Now that Frieda is no longer teaching, she was looking for a new home for her life’s work and found it in MoMu’s library, as a part of its study collection.

Frieda partially donated her archive to MoMu so it can continue to inspire and educate people as a hands-on collection. Via the crowdfunding platform Goteo, and with the generous support of Europeana’s match funding program, MoMu raised the necessary funding to integrate Frieda’s pieces into the museum’s study collection and build an educational tool with it, so it can be consulted by students, researchers and designers. The educational tool consists of the following components:

  • A physical archive. Frieda’s collection is properly stored in preservation-friendly boxes containing complete silhouettes (main garments, underclothing, accessories, shoes) documenting 20th-century fashion organised by time period. These boxes can be consulted in MoMu’s library by individuals and groups (secondary schools will be the main target). MoMu will also facilitate the use of these boxes by secondary schools within the MoMu library for training, workshops, etc. MoMu will also start an educational programme based on this collection.
  • Every artefact in these boxes is described according to the Europeana Data Model, and will be shared on Europeana Collections.
  • MoMu has built a website in the open source CMS Omeka-S, in which more information on the project can be found and the collection can be consulted in a database.
  • Every artefact is digitally photographed by a professional photographer, coupled with the record in the online database, and made accessible under a CC BY-SA licence. These photos were also donated to Wikimedia Commons;
  • An educational video was made based on the content created for this project. In this video, Frieda Dauphin-Verhees tells the fascinating story behind the objects from her collection. The video is organised chronologically and offers context for the physical collection that is available for consultation. But it can also be viewed as a stand-alone documentary on fashion in the 20th century. The video is shared through MoMu’s Vimeo/youtube account, under an open licence. 

STUDY COLLECTION | Capturing Fashion in the 20th Century with Frieda Dauphin-Verhees' Study Collection from MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp on Vimeo.

The Frieda Dauphin-Verhees' Study Collection will be featured on the Europeana’s apps gallery and promoted to Europeana’s educational communities.

Find more information at the Frieda Dauphin-Verhees' Study Collection's page Or get in touch via [email protected]