UH Manoa's Historic Costume Collection unveils online aloha shirt exhibit

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Melissa Rand, 956-7428
Museum Studies Program, Dept. of American Studies
Michael Thomas, 956-4168
Posted: Feb 25, 2010

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's Apparel Product Design and Merchandising Program's Historic Costume Collection has initiated an online exhibit to digitize its aloha shirt collection.

Due to the limited exhibit space available on campus, curator Carol D`Angelo is making the aloha shirt collection publicly available digitally. The UH Mānoa aloha shirt collection is one of only two such collections in the western U.S., and the only one in the Pacific, according to Dr. Michael Thomas, Digital Collections Manager of the University of Hawai‘i Virtual Museum.

The project was initiated in fall 2009 by Jennifer Halaszyn, a student in the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program. A collaborative internship project, it involved several faculty, staff and volunteers including Carol D’Angelo, Curator of the Historic Costume Collection; Dr. Karen Kosasa, Chair of the UH Museum Consortium; David Beales, University Photographer; and Melissa Rand, Graduate Assistant in Museum Studies. The project has digitally photographed more than 50 Aloha shirts. The online exhibit is publicly available through the UH Virtual Museum at: www.museum.hawaii.edu.

Popularized by local garment makers and celebrities, the aloha shirt spread in use in the United States and abroad.  The shirts in this collection were influenced by fabrics and fashion design elements from Native Hawaiian culture as well as Hawai‘i’s many immigrant cultures.  The aloha shirt is important in the history of Hawaiian fashion, particularly for its influence on casual business attire, now a generally accepted custom in Hawai‘i and elsewhere.   

UH Mānoa's Historic Costume Collection is one of the largest collections of garments, textiles, and related artifacts in an American university. For more information, call Michael Thomas at 956-4168 or email mbthomas@hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: http://www.museum.hawaii.edu