Peabody Essex Museum

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Peabody Essex Museum



Petra Slinkard appointed Curator of Fashion & Textiles

We are delighted to announce that Petra Slinkard is the new Curator of Fashion & Textiles at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Slinkard began in her new position on February 1, 2018. She comes to PEM from the Chicago History Museum, where she was Curator of Costume since 2013.  Connie Rosemont of Museum Search and Reference and Marilyn Hoffman ran the international search for this new position at PEM.

At the Chicago History Museum, Slinkard worked with a collection of more than 50,000 examples of costume, fashion and textiles to develop exhibitions, acquisitions and community and online outreach.  Previously, she worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she helped expand the museum's fashion exhibition offerings and collection, as well as its Fashion Society. At PEM, Slinkard will foster the growth and the innovative, inclusive spirit of the museum's celebrated fashion initiative.

Slinkard has helped develop a broad range of exhibitions, including: Simply Halston (IMA, 2008); Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA's Collection (IMA, 2010); Ball-Nogues Studio: Gravity's Loom (IMA, 2010); Friends of the Rag: Art that you Wear (UNI Gallery of Art, University of Northern Iowa, 2011); and An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston & Sprouse (IMA, 2012). For the Chicago History Museum, Slinkard organized the exhibitions, Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile® (2014) and Making Mainbocher | The First American Couturier (2016). She authored catalogues for both Chicago exhibitions.

A board member of the Costume Society of America and a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators, Slinkard is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington where she earned a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising, a B.A. in Art History (concentration in Modern and Contemporary Art), and a M.S. in Fashion/Textile History. 

"PEM's global collection and focus on bold interpretation afford us the opportunity to develop distinctive perspectives on the role of fashion in our lives," said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, PEM's James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Deputy Director. "Hiring our first fashion curator has been my personal dream, and Petra's wide-ranging expertise will take our fashion initiative in a fresh and dynamic direction."

At PEM, Slinkard will develop a vibrant array of exhibitions, installations and programming that celebrate the global impact and reach of fashion. She will also continue to strategically enhance the museum's collection of fashion, costumes and textiles from around the world -- spanning the 17th-century through today, and work with the museum's new Fashion Visiting Committee. Hartigan continued, "Petra possesses a zest for collaboration, experimentation and community engagement, qualities that will advance our capacity to present fashion as a living expression of creativity."

Many people helped with this search as nominators, references or candidates, and Connie and Marilyn are grateful to each of them.