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Fashion Statement

April 7 @ 10:00 am - September 15 @ 5:00 pm

On view April 7, 2019 – September 15, 2019



Every day, millions of people self-identify (or are identified by others) by what they wear. Clothes may indicate one’s profession, religion, or socio-economic status. Whether you intend it or not, your clothes telegraph—to those who know how to read the language—the groups to which you belong (or want to belong).


A new original exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland will invite visitors to think more deeply about the messages (overt and ambiguous) embedded in articles of clothing from the last two centuries in the collection of the JMM, and what they can teach us about our own lives.



The Exhibit

Fashion Statement will ask visitors to consider how a man’s black hat can signal religious expression or a fur coat can communicate a woman’s aspirations. Visitors will consider everyday clothing from club jackets to political tee shirts, military and civilian uniforms to “must-have” accessories, and explore how those everyday objects amplify (and sometimes disguise) identity and affiliation.


This exhibit is made possible because JMM’s collection is both broad and deep when it comes to garments and accessories. This is in part because of the Maryland Jewish community’s many connections to the garment industry, but it is also a reflection of the truth of the big idea of this exhibit: we, Jewish Marylanders and all human beings, use clothing as one of the ways we assert who we are.



Visitors will also consider cases, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissent collar” where the fame of the wearer or the context of its wearing imbues an article of clothing with meaning, instead of the other way around. Notable articles of clothing in this category include journalist and storyteller Gil Sandler’s hat and activist Shoshanah Cardin’s purple scarf.


This exhibit will be hands-on for visitors of all ages – interactive stations will ask visitors to think about their own clothing choices, both how they dress and where they shop. At one station visitors will create their own ‘message’ shirt using a menu of symbols and images. A final visitor comment interactive will collect visitor reflections on the stories they’ve encountered and shared examples of their own for others to enjoy.



Using the disciplines of history and material culture studies, Fashion Statement will display clothing and accessories worn by Jewish Marylanders – women, men, and children – in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.  Historic photographs, documents, and maps will provide context, along with interpretive panels telling the stories of each garment and accessory. All of the artifacts and stories used in Fashion Statement will be from Marylanders.



This exhibit is on view concurrently with Stitching History from the Holocauston loan from the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.




This exhibit is made possible, in part by our lead sponsor: PNC Bank Greater Maryland.


Additional support is provided by:

The Herbert Bearman Foundation

A gift in memory of Hugo Dalsheimer

The Greif Family Fund

The David B. Liebman Philanthropic Fund, Sue and Dr. David Liebman

Nancy Patz Blaustein

Wendy M. Jachman and Jeffrey H. Scherr


Media sponsor:


To become a sponsor for this exhibit, please contact:

Tracey E. Dorfmann

Development Director



April 7 @ 10:00 am
September 15 @ 5:00 pm