As three-dimensional objects made for unique bodies, historical costume present numerous challenges in terms of exhibition display. To present exhibitions locally and to travel them, we must invest in proper mannequins that will be both aesthetically appealing and safe for the display of clothing. Such mannequins are made to reproduce the stance and effect of different historical underpinnings.
Specialized mannequins are typically the smallest possible sizes than can be padded out to comply with a garment’s measurements. This helps to reduce the strain on artifacts and enables a safer use of the pieces, thus extending the artifact’s life. As our holdings cover over 350 years of history, we must invest in different types of mannequins for women, men and children. Building a stock of mannequins will enable us to present garments accurately in our gallery and have enough mannequins to envision a simultaneous travelling of other exhibitions.
The possibility of building our own historical mannequins using the Human Ecology Department’s full-body scanner and 3-D carving and/or 3-D printing equipment could also be a possibility if substantial research funding was made available. This could address the creation of mannequins of different sizes that are molded by period corsets. To allow all individuals to be represented in the display of historical artifacts the development of plus-sized mannequins would be ideal.