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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Costume and Textiles Collections Management Certificate

A Partnership with University College and Extension Services

This dynamic, interactive on-line program is the first of its kind to specialize in training collections managers for costume and textiles. This is a professional development (non-credit) on-line certificate.

After completing the five modules, you will be prepared to help meet the growing demand for skilled professionals to work with museums, studio archives, and private and corporate collections. The program culminates in mentor sponsored fieldwork where you will have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with professionals in a variety of notable institutions. Career professionals from museums, academia, and historic sites will teach the skills and key aspects of materials and agents of deterioration, care and storage, and management issues that are the foundation of collections management.

Who Should Attend?

Collections professionals who wish to augment their expertise
Museum and archive professionals
Volunteers and docents
Private collectors
Career professionals in the costume, apparel, and textile fields who wish to retool
Those interested in pursuing a career in textiles and collections management

Module Requirements

1. Introduction to Collections Management

This module will provide and overview of critical areas in the field of collection management. Understanding preservation and the differences between conservation and restoration of historic apparel and accessories are key to maintaining integrity of costumes and textiles throughout time. guest speakers will share information about heir career experience.

What is collections management
Career opportunities
Definitions and technical terminology
Comparing and contrasting various types of collections
Various uses of collections

2. Nature of Materials and Agents of Deterioration

This course will provide you with and understanding of the basic elements of science and the environment, which affect handling and storage of collections.

Types of textiles and associated materials
Basic materials science
Fiber analysis using microscopes and other lab equipment
Environmental factors: light, humidity, pollutants, and pests

3. Care and Storage

The focus of this hands-on course will be the handling, storage, and exhibiting of collection items. Evaluation of artifacts and proper cataloging will be explained and practiced. Emphasis will be placed on the effects of artifact composition on storage choices and support/barrier systems. Storage methods and materials will be discussed.

Safe handling of collection artifacts
health and safety issues
Cataloging process, accession and deaccession
Understand the relationship between the use of object and storage planning

4. Issues of Collections Management

The logistics of managing a costume collection extend beyond the articles themselves. Often included in this responsibility are issues of personnel, facilities, training, budget, organizational policies, and social expectations. This module will explore the roles and responsibilities for successful collections management.

Staffing and personnel
Insurance and legal issues
Social expectations and donor interaction

5. Fieldwork in Collections Management

This intense field experience will allow the participant to assume a pre-professional role in a collections setting. Internship mentors will monitor and evaluate student work based on pre-established criteria stated in an internship contract. You will also evaluate the internship experience at the end of the course.


Cynthia Cavanaugh

Former Collections Manager, Department of Costumes and Textiles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Tawny Sherrill

Program Coordinator, Lecturer in Costume History, Family and Consumer Sciences, CSULB.

Cara Varnell

Program Coordinator, Textile Conservator in private practice, specializing in costume conservation. She has more than 20 years conservation experience.

For information about enrolling contact:

Mark Smith

(562) 985-8452

Certificate Program Director:

M. Sue Stanley

PhD, Department Chair, Family and Consumer Sciences

How do I complete the certificate?

Complete all five modules
Complete the project. Portfolio and report presentation to faculty and a panel of experts will include: executing accession and deaccession procedures, preparation of a care plan for a collection item, preparation of a display using collection items, and conducting an on-site survey.