Mary Farahnakian was a joint professor in the BYU Theatre and Media Arts (TMA) Department, Clothing and Textiles Department, and the School of Family Life from 1988 until her retirement in 2016. She taught history of costume, costume specialty, and costume design and construction. Mary was also an accomplished stage and television actress and an award-winning costume designer. She became the founder and curator of the BYU TMA Historic Clothing Collection in 1996.
The BYU Library’s Historic Clothing collection was originally part of the TMA Department’s collection curated and cared for by Mary. The 500-piece collection was almost tripled when Carma DeJong Anderson, the President of the Utah Costume Institute, donated her collection to BYU. As the original 500-piece TMA collection grew to over 4000 pieces, it was moved to off-site storage until 2013, at which time the Theater and Media Arts Department could no longer maintain the collection. It was then that The BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures and the BYU Library assumed stewardship of different portions of the collection, bringing them back to their respective archival storage areas.
The pieces on exhibit are some of the highlights from this Historic Clothing Collection ranging from 1900-1980s.