Department News 07-10-17

We congratulate Stephanie Breinholt and Michael Kraczek who have had their 6th year dossiers reviewed by their faculty mentors, revisions completed, and dossiers turned in to be distributed to outside reviewers later this month. For all the faculty who have gone through this, you know what a huge sigh of relief this is. The dossiers will be available to all full-time faculty this fall when their CFS applications will be reviewed.  Best of luck to both these colleagues, and we hope they enjoy the rest of their summer!


Russ Richins announced last week that, “with the retirement of Donnette Perkins, I am happy to report that Jessica Cowden has officially accepted our offer of employment as Costume Operations Manager, joining us on August 15, 2017.”  Ms. Cowden received her BS from Southern Utah University and MFA from Brigham Young University. She specialized in costume technology, including corsetry, millinery, and fabric painting and dyeing. Ms. Cowden worked with the Utah Shakespearean Festival for nine years, serving in many different positions including costume crafts supervisor and as a designer.  Ms. Cowden has been at Florida Atlantic University for the last 7 years as the Costume Shop Manager, teaching theatre tech classes and as a designer.  TMA joins Arts Production in welcoming Jessica back to BYU!



You may have wondered what happened to the 3,500 + articles that were part of Mary Farahnakian’s BYU TMA Historic Clothing collection when she retired.  When Amy Jensen served as chair, she sent out numerous feelers to entities that might have a stake in historic Mormon clothing. BYU’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures and the L. Tom Perry Special Collection both expressed interest in the collection. You can imagine that the transfer of thousands of antique articles of clothing and accessories is daunting!  It has taken almost three years, but we anticipate the transfer will be complete in December 2017.  Three different students, Kirsten Watkins, Karrica Egbert, and current Design Tech student, Courteney Shipley, have been hired by TMA, overseen at first by Rory Scanlon, and currently supervised by Dennis Wright, to prepare the articles for transfer from the KMC, on the road to Springville, to the HBLL and the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.  Courteney started working on the collection in April 2017.  Even in the few months Courteney has been with the collection, she has become quite passionate about it.  Some of her duties include:

  • Working about 10 hours per week, which allows her to process about 10 boxes each week.
  • Evaluating each piece, recording the condition of the piece, making note of any wear, missing buttons, etc.  (Courteney makes drawings of some of the unusual aspects of the articles. She is an Illustration minor.)
  • Each box is taken over to the freezer in the Bean museum and frozen to kill any bugs or larvae in the clothing.  Scheduling this freezer can be a bit tricky at times.
  • Taking out of the articles from their current boxes, repackaging them in acid free paper and re-folding the clothing according to museum-standard folding specifications, which Courteney and her predecessors have researched and practiced extensively.
  • The clothing is then sent to either the Perry Special Collection in the HBLL or the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.

The articles are divided into two categories, “study” and “non-study.”  The non-study articles are usually in better shape and tend to be more museum caliber.  Most of these are housed in Special Collections.  The study articles tend to be more fragile and many of these are in the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.  The TMA student assistants have been able to process all the men’s clothing and most of the women’s articles through the 1940’s.  Sometimes they have found photographs, theatre tickets, or other items in the men’s pockets, which they carefully label and keep with the clothing article.  These become part of the history of that article.  Besides training as a curator, Courteney is designing the hair and makeup for The Mill on the Floss this fall, as well as costumes for Anne of Green Gables in spring 2018.  Her work on the collection has enriched her understanding of time periods and helped her research these production designs. Dennis Wright has taken his History of Costume class to see clothing articles in Special Collections, and the School of Family Life often brings students in to see some of the pieces.  Dennis talks about how amazing it is to see these antique articles of clothing, which have often been made over several times because cloth was of such a premium in the 1800’s. Those interested in seeing articles from the collection can contact Myrna Layton in the Special Collections of the library, 2-4334.  We have been greatly blessed to keep Mary’s Historic Clothing Collection here at BYU for our own cultural heritage.  Deep gratitude goes to Mary FarahnakianRory Scanlon; Kayla Willey, Russ Taylor, and Christina Thomas from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Paul Stavast from the Museum of Peoples and Cultures; and all those who have worked countless hours on the transfer of the Historic Clothing Collection to more permanent preservation within the university.






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