The Andover Figures Mission
Safe and effective costume mounting is essential to creating a successful exhibition of historic clothing. With every garment being completely unique in size, shape, and construction, we cannot rely on a “one size fits all” solution for displaying period garments. Additionally, the fragile and unique nature of these objects makes collecting, caring for, and exhibiting them one of the most labor- and resource-intensive undertakings in any museum.
Proper display is a method of preventative conservation—the correct support, handling, and placement of a garment are key to mitigating damage from the exhibition process. Those responsible for exhibiting historic clothing, whatever their title within the museum, need to be empowered with a practical skillset to protect their collections from harm and reserve their operating budgets for instances in which the expertise of a conservator is critical to preservation.
Professional conservators and costume-mounting specialists will always be necessary to care for our most intricate and fragile garments. Their expertise can provide stabilization for pieces that are otherwise too vulnerable for display, and construct one-of-a-kind mounts to fit specific garments and accessories. Since small museums and historic societies do not always possess the financial means to engage conservators or costume specialists, a new solution is required to meet these specific exhibit concerns--an archival manikin that is versatile, cost-effective, and customizable in the hands of any collections professional.
In developing the Andover Figures system, our aim has been to meet these concerns as well as to provide accessible training and resources that allow everyone to effectively and more easily care for and share these engaging and unique objects. Our manikins and suspension forms fit juvenile, women’s, and men’s garments. They can be customized for any historical silhouette with easy-to-find, museum-quality materials. You can reuse Andover Figures again and again, making the already-low price an even better investment.