Fashion Museum Bath

Image: A selection of garments from the History of Fashion in 100 Objects exhibition
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The Fashion Museum Bath holds a world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress located in a World Heritage City. The museum was founded by writer and collector Doris Langley Moore as the Museum of Costume, Bath and has been based in Bath’s Grade 1-listed 18th century Assembly Rooms since 1963.

Designated as a collection of outstanding national significance under the scheme administered by Arts Council England, the Fashion Museum is frequently included in ‘Top Ten’ lists of the world’s leading fashion museums.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

January - February 10.30 - 16.00
March - October 10.30 - 17.00
November - December 10.30 - 16.00
Exit 1 hour after these times

The Assembly Rooms are free to view when not in use for booked functions. Hours as for Fashion Museum.

Admission charges

Adult single £8.75
Senior citizens (65+) Full Time students from outside Bath (aged 17 and over plus a valid ID) £7.75
Child single (6-16 years) ES40 Holders £6.75
Family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) £27.00

Saver ticket to Fashion Museum, Roman Baths and Victoria Art Gallery is available.


  • Museums Association
  • National Art Pass

Additional info

Free audioguide in one of twelve languages
Café in the Assembly Rooms
Gift shop and fashion bookshop
Group discount (20+)
Child carriers and babychanging facilities
Special guided tours and illustrated talks
Fully accessible to wheelchair users
Study facilities need to be booked, see website for details

The Fashion Museum collection ranges from jewel-like pieces of 17th century embroidery to fashions by cutting edge 21st century designers; the museum also houses significant fashion archive collections, as well as prints, drawings and photographs. Highlights of the Fashion Museum collection include the early embroidered gloves on loan from the Glove Collection Trust, the Worth-Paquin Archive from the early 20th century, and the Dress of the Year collection, a contemporary collecting scheme which started in 1963, the year the museum opened in Bath.

The collection is presented on display on the lower ground floor of the Assembly Rooms. In addition, anyone can see any object in the collection for a self-directed study session during a pre-booked appointment at the Fashion Museum Study Facilities. For further details please visit

Collection details

Costume and Textiles, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • Georgian costume
  • Victorian costume
  • Corsets
  • 20th century fashion
  • Mary Quant
  • John Bates
  • Ossie Clark
  • Jean Muir
  • Bill Gibb
  • Georgio Armani
  • John Galliano
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Donatella Versace
  • Alber Elbaz
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Dress and train of fine cream silk decorated with diamantes and gold and silver metal thread embroidery

Behind the Scenes

  • 31 January 2015 — 2 January 2017 *on now

This special display has been refreshed for 2015 and showcases one hundred years of fashion, from snowy white embroidered muslins from the time of Jane Austen through to crinolines and crinolettes to the new column-like shape of dresses from the time of the First World War.

The display includes an original dress worn by Queen Victoria.

“Behind the Scenes” blurs the traditional museum boundaries between collections on display and those held in store. The gallery is, in fact, the museum store, and the original fashions are presented against a backdrop of collection storage boxes.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Any age


Included in Fashion Museum entry


Black and red wool crepe appliqué jacket, Lucien Lelong, about 1947, worn by Vivien Leigh / Red and black spotted silk ballgown with bows and puffed sleeves, about 1982, David and Elizabeth Emanuel

A History of Fashion in 100 Objects

  • 19 March 2016 — 1 January 2019 *on now

A History of Fashion in 100 Objects celebrates fashion throughout history, from the 1500s to the present day, showcasing 100 star objects from the Fashion Museum’s world-class collection.

From a late 1500s ‘blackwork’ embroidered man’s shirt dating from the time of the Spanish Armada, to a ‘body-con’ Galaxy dress of the early 2000s, the exhibition presents iconic garments and accessories spanning five centuries of innovative fashion design.

Fashion is defined as the latest style of dress, decoration or behaviour, and the exhibition showcases artefacts that tell personal stories or are symptomatic of moments in world history.

One of the earliest fashion garments to go on display is an intricately embroidered woman’s jacket – known at the time as a waistcoat – worked in coloured silks and glittering metal thread and dating from the time of Shakespeare.

Fast forward over 300 years, and visitors can see another embroidered jacket, this time from 1948, by Paris couturier Lucien Lelong and worn by major film star and ‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Vivien Leigh.

Graceful silk robes and embroidered and tailored coats for men, the styles fashionable during Bath’s Georgian heyday, will also be on display, along with Regency fashions from the time of Jane Austen.

Big names of fashion history feature in the exhibition. Visitors will see gowns by the first fashion designers, including the Houses of Worth and Lucile, through to names that are more familiar today, such as Christian Dior and McQueen.

The finale of the show is a selection of the most recent choices in the Fashion Museum’s noted Dress of the Year collection, commencing with the Dress of the Year 2011, a magnificent dress in ivory silk tulle by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The display ends with the Dress of the Year 2015, two outfits by visionary British menswear designer Craig Green, giving an up-to-the-minute, contemporary take on historical fashion.

Alongside the main exhibition, look out for 10 ‘shoe moments’ throughout history – from Georgian silk shoes to Air Jordan trainers – plus a children’s trail featuring 10 fashion looks for kids, from the 1700s to the 2000s.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Adults £8.75, Child £6.75


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Image: Penny Wheeler

Weave Workshop

  • 3 September 2016 10am-4pm

Taking a light brown and blue striped wool gauze dress with blue pom-poms from the 1840s as a starting point, this workshop will guide you through how to thread up your own rigid heddle backstrap loom and then weave cloth with it. Lambswool yarns will be used in both the warp and the weft.

Penny Wheeler is a hand-loom weaver and artist based in Bath. In 2014 Penny made the rigid heddles we will be using in the workshop as part of her residency with Somerset Art Works and the Z-Twist-2014 project.

Penny has an MA in Textiles from Bath Spa University, and works part-time as a visiting lecturer and enjoys sharing her love of weaving, colour, yarn and texture with students. Penny's latest work is a living, growing shift dress woven from recycled plastic bags as part of the shiftWorks project for seam Collective.




Image: Jane Austen print

Twilight Talk - ‘The neatest worker of the party’

  • 15 September 2016 6-7pm

It is well known that ‘work’ is synonymous with ‘needlework’ in Jane Austen’s novels. Austen herself was proud of her prowess with the needle. Drawing on her letters and novels, Maggie Lane considers the role of needlework in bonding communities of women while producing items of beauty or utility.

Maggie Lane is the author of several books including A Charming Place: Bath in the Life and Novels of Jane Austen and Growing Older with Jane Austen. She is a regular contributor to the Regency World magazine and Editor of the Jane Austen Society’s publications. Her new book, On the Sofa with Jane Austen, a collection of essays, will be published in October 2016.

£10 adult / £8 student or £9 if bought in a bundle of four tickets (excludes In Conversation events).

Includes wine reception. This talk is fully accessible to wheelchair users.


£10 adult / £8 student


Image: Brigid Keenan

Brigid Keenan In Conversation

  • 20 September 2016 6-7pm

Brigid Keenan will discuss her far-from-ordinary life, growing up in India and coming of age in sixties London to being Fashion Editor at the Sunday Times at the age of 21. This event includes a book signing of Brigid’s new memoir, Full Marks for Trying.

£15 adult / £12.50 student or £9 if bought in a bundle of four tickets (excludes In Conversation events).

Includes wine reception. This talk is fully accessible to wheelchair users.


£15 adult / £12.50 student


Image: Shirt

Twilight Talk - Tudor Shirts and Blackwork Decoration

  • 29 September 2016 6-7pm

Beneath their ornate doublets and richly decorated robes Tudor men and women of fashion chose to wear fine linen shirts, shifts, and smocks, frequently decorated with beautiful blackwork embroidery. Dr Susan North of the Victoria and Albert Museum will explore this hidden area of dress history, drawing on portraits of the time, as well as rare surviving garments from the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

Dr Susan North, Victoria and Albert Museum is senior curator in the Furniture, Fashion and Textiles Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and a leading expert on dress of the 16th century.

£10 adult / £8 student or £9 if bought in a bundle of four tickets (excludes In Conversation events).

Includes wine reception. This talk is fully accessible to wheelchair users.


£10 adult / £8 student


Image: Embroidery

Royal School of Needlework Workshop

  • 1 October 2016 10am-4pm

RSN tutor, Deborah Wilding will be teaching a bespoke Blackwork class at the Fashion Museum Bath Study Facilities on Saturday 1st October, 2016. This class is suitable for both beginners and more advanced stitchers and is based on this wonderfully preserved, men’s Blackwork embroidered shirt from 1600 which is currently on display at the museum as part of the exhibition 'A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’.

The kit design will be a close replica of the motif on the shirt, using both traditional embroidery and counted Blackwork patterns on a white background to create your own piece of historic embroidery. You will be able to view the original shirt in the exhibition at the Fashion Museum during the class.

The course kit, available to buy on the day for £22.50 (cash only), will include everything you require to complete the project. You may like to bring your own embroidery scissors and you will be able to borrow ring frames, magnifiers and lights (if needed) on the day.

Tickets available from the Royal School of Needlework website. All attendees must be able to climb stairs as there is no disabled access to the Study Facilities. The class price also includes a ticket to the Museum to be used during October.




Image: Electric blue cotton ensemble designed by Craig Green, 2015

Craig Green In Conversation with Gordon Richardson

  • 28 October 2016 6-7pm

Electric blue cotton and quilted ensembles by the award-winning British menswear designer Craig Green were chosen by Gordon Richardson, chief designer at Topman as the Fashion Museum’s Dress of the Year 2015. Hear both the designer and the selector in a special event for Museums at Night.

Tickets will go on sale from the Bath Box Office website from Monday 19 September.


£15.00 adult
£12.50 student


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Fashion past & present

A session for secondary students linked to textiles and design. This session looks at how a design brief works. Pupils explore the displays in the Fashion Museum, make detailed sketches and follow a simple design brief.

How to obtain

Book in advance on 01225 477757

Investigating pattern

Pupils follow a patern trail and investigate how patterns work in fabric. They handle a range of fabrics in small groups and create a new pattern for use as a motif on a new item of clothing.

How to obtain

Book in advance on 01225 477757.

Shoes, hats and bags KS2

At the Fashion Museum explore shoes, hats & bags from different times. Pupils examine a range of accessories, explore the displays in the museum and produce a design for a new accessory.

How to obtain

Book in advance on 01225 477757

The clothes we wear KS1

Pupils will link clothing past and present whilst exploring types of dress. Pupils explore the displays in the Fashion Museum. They also handle different fabrics and sort the fabrics for texture, warmth and use. They will also design a new outfit.

How to obtain

Please book in advance on 01225 477757.

Fashion Museum Bath
Assembly Rooms
Bennett Street



Museum enquiries

Group bookings/ General Information


01225 477789

Assembly Rooms

01225 477789


Enquiries/Group Bookings

01225 477743

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.