PLEASE NOTE: This attraction has closed. Its collections will be part of the new National Museum of African American History & Culture.

The description remains here for the record.

The Black Fashion Museum celebrates the traditional role of dressmakers in American life. It is a repository for period and recent garments designed and made by people of the African Diaspora. Its collections include replicas of ballgowns created by Elizabeth Keckley, the once-enslaved dressmaker who became confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln. Keckley wrote Behind the Scenes (1868) and was a leader in freedmen's relief efforts during and after the Civil War. The work of Ann Lowe, who designed Jacqueline Bouvier's wedding dress for her marriage to John F. Kennedy, is also featured.

The museum was founded by Lois Alexander Lane, who lived in this house while working for the U.S. Government. After she was transferred to New York City, she moved to Harlem where she founded the museum in 1979 while operating the Harlem Institute of Fashion. She moved the museum to Washington in 1997 when she moved back to her own home here.

In the late 1800s, the house was known as the Sojourner Truth Home for Women and Girls. According to the National Park Service, the house may have served as a station on the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the Civil War (1861-1865). Today the museum offers changing exhibits.


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