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19th century ambrotype image of a tailor in his workshop. Fabric stacked on shelves behind him, scissors in hand.

WELCOME  TO

THE MERCHANT TAILOR MUSEUM

A comprehensive collection of men's garments produced between 1845 and 1865.
Historic tailoring research hub.
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Exhibit at the Watkins Museum of History now Open!

THE TAILORS' GUIDE

 The Merchant Tailor Museum is excited to announce the

re-printing of Louis Devere and Charles Compaing's 1856

master work: The Tailors' Guide. For the first time in 167 years you can learn the art of pattern drafting using a true-to-the-original, two-volume pressing, copied directly from an original in the Museums' collection. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

EXPLORE OUR COLLECTION

Browse through nearly 300 original men's garments and other artifacts, produced during one of the most pivotal periods in textile innovation and change. From "ready-made" frocks and flannel drawers, to high fashion silk waistcoats; get an in depth look at the styles, materials, and fits that made the man of the mid-19th century. 

Blue and white checked cotton frock coat, velvet floral waistcoat, and black wool trousers from 1845-1865.
Reprint of Louis Devere's "The Tailors' Guide" in two volumes: Plates and Letterpress, like the original from 1856.
Antique pattern for nineteenth century frock coat.

Our Mission

The mission of The Merchant Tailor Museum is the documentation of garments in our collection within the socio-economic context of their creation. The Museum conserves its collection to the highest standards of museum professionalism. Furthermore, the Museum highly prioritizes educational opportunities through radical public accessibility.

Man shows two visitors a selection of waistcoats from our collection.

Accessibility 

The Merchant Tailor Museum is founded on the concept of radical accessibility. As stewards of these important cultural resources, we feel that it's our responsibility to prioritize public access to the artifacts in our collection Accessibility and preservation are equally important facets of what we do.

2 hands pushing fabric beneath the working arm of an antique, pedal sewing machine.

Education

We share our educational resources through our detailed digital catalog, public engagement online and in person, workshops, research articles, and more. Education and accessibility go hand-in-hand, and we aim to serve as a proving ground for multidisciplinary approaches to artifact preservation and study.

A close up image of gray archival boxes labelled V1-V4.

Preservation

The responsible storage and treatment of the objects in our care, in alignment with the best practices of museum work, is as important as making them accessible to the public. Quality preservation practices are an indispensable requirement if these textiles are to be shared with future generations.

Man drafts a pair of trousers on brown paper using tailoring rulers and a historic tailoring guide.

Educational Classes And Courses!

The Merchant Tailor Museum is not only dedicated to the preservation of the textiles within the collection, but also the trades and skills used in their creation. Learn the art of drafting and tailoring, measuring and cutting, and so much more! 

Sign up for our email list to be notified of upcoming classes and courses. Click HERE to check out other educational resources.
Antique, pedal sewing machine made of wood and cast iron, from the mid-nineteenth century.
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Request for Photo and Informational Credit:
We encourage our visitors to use and spread the information, photos, and ideas acquired from this site, any Museum events, or anything shared indirectly from our social media. 

Photos: Please caption/cite photos with "Image courtesy of The Merchant Tailor Museum."

Information: Please caption/cite information acquired on the website (such as tailoring manuals, blog posts, articles, etc.) as "Resource provided by The Merchant Tailor Museum," or "Information made available by The Merchant Tailor Museum."

If you can, tag @tmtmuseum so we can see and share what you're interested in!

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