History on Elm Presents Ginger Rogers: Dressed to Impress January 9

A dazzling collection of costumes worn by Hollywood star Ginger Rogers will be on display at the State Historical Society of Missouri in March. The public can get a sneak peak of this stunning collection on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, during the History on Elm noon series at the Center for Missouri Studies, 605 Elm St., Columbia.

For the Jan. 9 program, Nicole Johnston, curator of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, and MU graduate student Mackenzie Miller will bring a few of the costumes and discuss how the garments influence modern designers. They’ll also share insight about the Missouri-native who often defied society norms throughout her lengthy career in entertainment. Though often remembered for full-length gowns, Rogers also frequently danced onscreen in trousers allowing her the freedom to perform complex dance moves and reminded viewers that women could be men’s equal on the dance floor and perhaps elsewhere.

Born in Independence, Rogers broke into cinema as it evolved from silent films to talkies. She had already made 20 films by the time she met Fred Astaire, with whom she formed a legendary dance partnership during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Recently, a stunning collection of costumes and clothing worn by Rogers was donated to the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection (MHCTC) in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) at the University of Missouri. TAM is collaborating with the State Historical Society to showcase the costumes at the art gallery in the Center for Missouri Studies. The exhibition opens March 2 and runs through Aug.31, 2024.

The History on Elm series explores a variety of topics on the second Tuesday of the month at noon, ranging from Missouri art and authors to unique and interesting collections at the State Historical Society. The series is free to the public and registration is not required.