Thanks to the tremendous support for this initiative, we have reached our goal of raising funds to conserve five original costumes from Gone With The Wind. If you wish to make a donation to help support the Ransom Center's Gone With The Wind 2014 exhibition, which coincides with the film's 75th anniversary, we are currently raising funds for this purpose.
We are grateful to all of those who donated. If you are interested in updates on the costumes please sign up for the Ransom Center's eNews at hrc.utexas.edu/eNews.
Help preserve the Green Curtain Dress and other iconic costumes from Gone With The Wind.
No movie costume has captured the imagination of film goers more than Scarlett O'Hara's Green Velvet Curtain Dress from Gone With The Wind. The Harry Ransom Center is home to five dresses worn by the actress Vivien Leigh in this Hollywood masterpiece. The costumes are from the collection of David O. Selznick, the legendary filmmaker who produced Gone With The Wind and other classics including A Star Is Born, Rebecca, and Duel in the Sun.
The costumes are in fragile condition and cannot currently be exhibited. The Center would like to display the costumes in 2014 as part of a major exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind. The Center also wants to be able to loan the dresses to other museums around the world.
We are currently raising funds to conserve the dresses, to purchase protective housing suitable for shipping them to other institutions, and to purchase custom-fitted mannequins that will allow them to be properly displayed.
Donate now to support the fall 2014 Gone With The Wind exhibition.
Gone With The Wind Costumes at the Ransom Center
Blue Velvet Peignoir
Frequently Asked Questions about the Gone With The Wind Dresses
How did the dresses end up at the Ransom Center?
The dresses came to the Ransom Center in the early 1980s as part of the David O. Selznick archive.
Why do the dresses need repairs?
Before the dresses came to the Ransom Center, they were exhibited frequently, and as a consequence, there are signs of wear on them. Most costumes are not constructed to last beyond the production of the film. They may not be finished in the same way that a ready-to-wear garment bought off-the-rack from a retail store would be. The dresses are voluminous and made of heavy fabrics, and the mere force of gravity can cause strain on the stitching of a dress when it is displayed on a mannequin. In some cases, for example, the cotton threads holding the seams together have deteriorated or loosened.
What conditions are the dresses kept in at the Ransom Center?
The dresses have been kept in humidity- and temperature-controlled conditions in acid-free tissue paper in archival boxes. The Ransom Center's conservation department is known for its excellence in the field, and preserving and conserving collection materials is a top priority for the institution. Furthermore, the Center's conservation department has consulted with other experts of costume conservation to ensure the proper care of the dresses.
Why haven't the dresses been on display?
Most of them have not been displayed in recent years to prevent further damage to the garments, but they have been accessible to scholars through our reading room. The red ball gown (which is in the best condition) was on display in our galleries as recently as this spring and summer as part of the Making Movies exhibition. The Ransom Center was able to monitor the condition of the dress during the exhibition, and it did show signs of stress. So this gown, too, will need conservation work if it is to continue to be exhibited in the future.
Why is this campaign being conducted now?
The Ransom Center is conducting this campaign now so that conservation work can be done on the dresses to ensure their safe display in 2014 as part of a 75th-anniversary exhibition related to Gone With The Wind and so they can safely travel beyond that exhibition to other institutions. Custom mannequins will be created for each dress to make sure that the dresses have proper support to prevent further stress on the garments.
How will the money from the campaign be spent?
The funds will be used to conserve the dresses, to purchase protective housing suitable for shipping them to other institutions, and to purchase custom-fitted mannequins that will allow them to be properly displayed.
I have years of sewing experience. Can I help restore the dresses?
The Ransom Center has been overwhelmed by the response to the Gone With The Wind costume campaign. We have received offers from dozens of seamstresses and tailors from all over the world. The Ransom Center has been consulting with several top textile conservators and experts in the field and will engage a qualified conservator to work on the dresses. The conservator would likely be a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works with many years in conservation treatment experience.
I didn't know you had Gone With The Wind materials. Would you like to borrow my collection for your 75th anniversary exhibition in 2014?
Materials for the exhibition will be drawn from the Ransom Center's David O. Selznick collection, which includes more than 5,000 document boxes, half a million photographs, more than 100 paintings, and five dresses.
I didn't know you had Gone With The Wind materials. Can you appraise my costume/film still/poster/prop/etc.?
The Ransom Center does not provide appraisals.
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For more information on how to make a gift please contact Margie Rine at 512-471-9643 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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