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Google Arts & Culture Virtual Exhibition Features Fashion Collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

July 13, 2017

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has joined more than 180 cultural institutions from New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, São Paulo and around the world for the “We Wear Culture” project presented by the Google Cultural Institute. The newly launched fashion project represents the largest virtual exhibition of global style showcasing clothing evolution around the world and examining the cultural significance of the clothes worn today. 

Using state-of-the-art technology, “We Wear Culture” allows users to explore everything from the career of the father of haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth, to the ancient Silk Road trade route, through the courtly fashions of Versailles to the anarchic style of the British punk movement and beyond. 

The museum’s newly curated online exhibition, A Look at the Black Fashion Museum Collection and Designer Peter Davy, gives fashion and black history enthusiasts an introduction to highlights from the Black Fashion Museum, which was founded by Lois K. Alexander-Lane. The entire collection contains nearly 2,000 objects that are currently being cataloged for future display and access by fashion scholars and researchers. In addition, the online exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Alexander-Lane and enjoy more than 50 stunning gowns created by Afro-Caribbean designer Peter Davy. Highlights include:

  • A brown satin halter-top gown with gold music-themed embellishments designed by Peter Davy and a black, skin-tight dress embellished with a black sequined hand with red fingernails
  • Dresses sewn by civil rights activist Rosa Parks and created by the first African American designer of note, Anne Lowe
  • Stories about and photos of Black Fashion Museum founder, Alexander-Lane

“It is not only exciting, but also rewarding to increase the number of access points people use to experience our collections through the ‘We Wear Culture’ digital platform,” said Elaine Nichols, senior curator for culture for the museum. “We are able to engage and educate an unlimited number of people about black fashion through the ages, ensuring that its contributors are honored and always remembered.”

In an effort to enhance its collection of Davy images, stories and objects, the museum is also inviting people who might have known the designer to share their memories.

The “We Wear Culture” exhibition is available online and through the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

About Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture puts over a thousand museums at your fingertips. It’s a new, immersive way to explore art, history and wonders of the world. Following projects that made Street Art, Performing Arts and Natural History accessible to people all over the world, “We Wear Culture” allows everyone to explore the world of fashion. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available on the web, on iOS and Android. The Google Arts & Culture team is an innovation partner for cultural institutions. The team works on technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums.

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SI-379-2017

Media only
Jaye Linnen  
(202) 633-7812 
linnenj@si.edu

Anne Williams  
(202) 633-7697 
williamsab@si.edu

black fashion models posing against backdrop


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