Richard Martin

Exhibition Awards



Richard Martin Exhibition Awards recognize outstanding costume exhibitions presented by both small and large institutions. Award-winning exhibitions demonstrate excellence and innovation in the interpretation and presentation of costume, providing a transforming experience to both students of costume and the public. Up to two awards are given annually to exhibitions of differing sizes and funding.

The award-winning institutions each receive a certificate and a $500 award, funded by the CSA Endowment.  A representative of each award-winning exhibition is invited to speak at the CSA National Symposium the following year and receives a $500 travel stipend and day-of-presentation registration fee, also funded by the CSA Endowment, to help defray travel and symposium expenses.

Richard Martin Exhibition Awards, first given in 2002, are named for Richard Martin (1947-1999), curator of costumes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology. An outstanding scholar, lecturer, author, and the curator of many critically acclaimed costume exhibitions, Richard Martin was a Fellow of the Costume Society of America, and served on its Board of Directors, as editor of CSA’s scholarly journal Dress, and as president of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

To be eligible for an award an exhibition must:

  • be mounted at a museum, historical society, historic house, academic department within an institution of higher learning, or at a site where museum standards are applied
  • at least sixty percent of the objects on display must be costume
  • have at least one person on the exhibition team who is a CSA member
  • have been presented in the fifteen months prior to the October 16, 2017 entry deadline
  • not have received the award in the past three years

The Costume Society of America recognizes that exhibition size is not necessarily an indicator of excellence. It also acknowledges that large institutions with large exhibition budgets may have an unfair advantage over smaller institutions with less funding. In order to balance competition between exhibitions of differing sizes and budgets, up to two Richard Martin Exhibition Awards may be given each year.

Exhibitions will be evaluated on:

  • excellent and innovative exhibition concept and design
  • quality of research, scholarship, and interpretation presented in the exhibition
  • innovative, appropriate, and engaging use of objects, media, and design elements
  • adherence to good conservation standards for mounts, light levels, climate control, etc.
  • overall excellence, encompassing the ability to serve as a model for other exhibitions and to evoke a transformative response from viewers
Entrants will be notified of the results by January 15. Award results will be announced at the CSA National Symposium. A designated representative of each award-winning exhibition is invited present an overview of the exhibition at the following year’s CSA National Symposium, and will receive a $500 honorarium to help defray travel and symposium expenses.

Nomination Procedure


  • Complete the application (click here to download). Completed applications may be submitted electronically (as a single folder using a free large file sharing application such as Dropbox or Google Drive), on six (6) DVDs, or in six (6) clearly labeled 3-ring binders or folders. Electronic submissions are encouraged.
  • Petra Slinkard

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 N. Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614

This year's application deadline has passed

Next year's applications will be due in October of 2018.

Past Recipients


2017:
Eyewear: Fashion with Vision
Curator: Anne Bissonnette
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
and
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015
Co-curators: Sharon Takeda, Kaye Spilker, and Clarissa Esguerra
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA

2016:
Native Fashion Now
Curator: Karen Kramer
Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, MA

2015:
Charles James: Beyond Fashion
Co-curators: Harold Koda and Jan Reeder
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY
and
Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting
Curator: Alexandra Palmer
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, ON, Canada

2014:
Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair
Co-curators: Joy Bivins and Virginia Heaven
Chicago History Museum
Chicago, IL

2013:
Certificates of Commendation:
60 Years Designing the Ballet
Curator: Caroline O’Brien
The Design Exchange
Toronto, Canada

Tying the Knot: Cleveland’s Wedding Fashions, 1830-1980
Co-curators: Colleen Callahan, Susan Neill, and Newbie Richardson
Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland, OH

2012:
No award granted

2011:
American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity
Curator: Andrew Bolton
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY

Eco-Fashion: Going Green
Co-curators: Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
New York, NY

Certificate of Commendation:
In Mother’s Hood: Inuit Packing Dolls of Taloyoak
Co-curators: Anne Bissonnette and Christina Williamson
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada

2010:
High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture
Co-curators: Kevin Jones and Christina Johnson
FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Los Angeles, CA

2009:
Reveal or Conceal?
Curator: Cynthia Cooper
McCord Museum
Montreal, Quebec Canada

Certificate of Commendation:
Gothic: Dark Glamour
Curator: Valerie Steele
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
New York, NY

2008:
Late 18th & Early 19th-Century Fashion Series
Curator: Anne Bissonnette
Kent State University Museum
Kent, OH

Poiret: King of Fashion
Co-curators: Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton
Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Costume Institute
New York, NY 

2007:
A Perfect Fit: The Garment Industry and American Jewry
Curator: Gabriel Goldstein
Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History
New York, NY

2006:

No award granted

2005:
Modesty Died When Clothes Were Born: Costume in the Life and Literature of Mark Twain
Curator: Lynne Bassett
Mark Twain House and Museum
Hartford, CT

2004:
What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America
Curator: Linda Baumgarten
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Williamsburg, VA

2003:
Clothes Make the Man
Curator: Cynthia Cooper
McCord Museum
Montreal, Quebec Canada

Miracles and Mischief: Noh and Kyogen Theater in Japan
Curator: Sharon Takeda
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA

2002:
Fashion Stores of the South: Thalheimers, Miller & Rhoads & Montado’s
Curator: Colleen Callahan
The Valentine Richmond History Center
Richmond, VA

London Fashion
Curator: Valerie Steele
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
New York, NY