The first floor gallery of the Human Ecology Building presents, on average, two exhibitions each year. These may be organized by faculty members, collection staff and interns, or graduate and undergraduate students. Exhibitions may be the result of research or a group effort organized as part of a specific class.
Due to the nature of our collection, each exhibition requires a fair amount of work. In addition to the research conducted to understand the artifacts, each piece needs to be examined for stability, and conservation treatment may be required in the case of fragile materials. Garments need to be dressed on three-dimensional forms that do not damage the pieces and have a proper stand for the period of the piece. Mannequins made for the display of historical garments are typically padded to the shape of the original wearer and thus require skill and knowledge to be presented properly. As textiles are extremely fragile, they must be presented under low light levels for a limited amount of time. Photographs are made of each mount, and this material can be presented as a virtual exhibition once the gallery is vacated.
Click to view or download our Access and Exhibition Policy (PDF).
Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Call for holiday closures.
Misfits: Bodies, Dress and Sustainability
April 12 to September 29, 2017.
Dr. Anne Bissonnette, Josée Chartrand, Meg Furler, Yara Sayegh and Pat Siferd co-curators as part of the graduate course "Material Culture and Curatorship" (HECOL 668).
Contemporary fashion is based on an unregulated system where ready-made apparel is produced according to sizes arbitrarily determined by manufacturers. For example, in Canada, clothing sizes are not standardized; a size ten from one manufacturer may differ from the size ten of another. This subjective practice is not customer-centric, and can lead to confusion and frustration in the marketplace. The size systems used in commercial garments are based on an amalgamation of dimensions obtained from different body measurements. The communication breakdown between posted garment sizes and people’s expectations affects how people buy, use and keep their clothing. This raises the question: how does the current fit of apparel impact clothing consumption, individual well-being and the environment?
Sponsored by The Department of Human Ecology.
Imagining a Better World: The Artwork of Nelly Toll
October 8, 2017, to March 30, 2018.
The exhibition Imagining a Better World will be coming to the Human Ecology Gallery in collaboration with the Massillon Museum (Ohio), which received funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the USA to support this project. The exhibition chronicles the art and early life of Dr. Nelly Toll, an artist and writer who survived the Holocaust as a young child in Nazi-occupied Poland.
The director of the Massillon Museum, Alexandra Nicholis Coon, explains that, through the exhibition, “children will be exposed to the helpful role imagination can play in difficult circumstances.” She adds that “through access to Toll’s work, the preservation of her story, and in the spark that catches flame in the lives of viewers, individuals and communities can vow to work toward a more just world, to learn new ways to talk to each other about the hard issues of life, and to make choices that will value imagination and fight against abuses of power.”
Presentation by Dr. Nelly Toll during the Wirth Institute’s Central European Cafe October 20, 2-3:30 pm, Student Lounge, main floor, Old Arts/Convocation Hall Building
The project needed an international venue to be considered for IMLS funding and the UofA’s Human Ecology Gallery was a perfect place for it.
For more information, visit the Massillon Museum's web site or read about this in our press release. For the New York Times article "‘Art From the Holocaust’: The Beauty and Brutality in Forbidden Works" by Mary M. Lane (Jan. 22, 2016) click here.
The Alberta venue is sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Edmonton's Holocaust Education Committee, The Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS), and The Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies. Held in conjunction with Jewish Studies Week in the Fall of 2017.
Eyewear: Fashion with Vision
November 23, 2016, to February 5, 2017.
Dr. Anne Bissonnette, Cybil Cameron, Katelin Karbonik, Naomi Milne, Katie Mooney, Danielle Peel, and Donnalee Riley co-curators. This exhibition is part of the undergraduate course "Nineteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Dress in the Western World " (HECOL 460).
Opening reception on Wednesday, November 23, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by our wonderful USEED crowd-funding donors and supported by our community partners and lenders: Jackie Anderson, Bijan Optical, The Observatory Opticians, and The Royal Alberta Museum.
This exhibition received a 2017 Richard Martin Exhibition Award from the Costume Society of America. This was the first time in the history of this award that it was given to an exhibition co-curated by students.
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For Richer or For Poorer: Til Consumption Do Us Part
April 9 to October 3, 2016
Co-curated by the instructor, Dr. Julia Petrov, and the students in the course "Material Culture in Home and Community" (HECOL 462).
The exhibition traces the rise of consumer culture as reflected in the changes to weddings over the past 100 years.
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April 9, 2015, to February 19, 2016.
Dr. Anne Bissonnette, Larisa Cheladyn, Stephanie Huolt, Robyn Stobbs and Sarah Woodyard co-curators as part of the graduate course "Material Culture and Curatorship" (HECOL 668).
Stitched objects communicate powerful ideas to those who understand a needle’s language. Though they speak differently than words on a page, seamstresses’ and embroiderers’ creations are rich in cultural, historical, and social meaning. “Stitched Narratives” explores these modes of expression, unraveling hand sewing’s complex stories. From eighteenth-century gowns and quilted textiles that speak of a highly organized and skilled labour force to twentieth-century garments that link the present to the past to remember a journey of immigration, the exhibition tells woven tales and showcases the hand’s many talents.
Sponsored by The Kule Institute for Advanced Study and The Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives.
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Lois Hole, the Queen of Hugs
October 23, 2014, to March 22, 2015.
Vlada Blinova and Lori Moran, exhibition curators. The exhibition team also includes Kim vanderHelm, Darlene Briere-Noren, Jane Batcheller, Karen Fraser, Colleen Nissen, Kathy Frazer and Rebecca Blakey.
The exhibition Lois Hole, the Queen of Hugs is dedicated to the life and legacy of Lois Hole (January 30, 1929 – January 6, 2005). A recipient of numerous honours and awards, gardening expert and successful businesswoman, best-selling author and education advocate, giver of hugs and high-ranking public official, Lois Hole was one of Alberta’s most beloved citizens. Well-recognized for her roles as Lieutenant Governor of the province and Chancellor of the University of Alberta, Lois Hole was also known and loved for her warm personality. The selection of garments and accessories on display speaks to who Lois Hole truly was: a woman of wide-ranging roles and meaningful experiences. Like her, many outfits are casual and down-to-earth, and reflect a clothing philosophy of practicality and comfort. Lois Hole’s family generously donated her favourite casual and dressy outfits to the Clothing and Textiles Collection, Department of Human Ecology. Items of her clothing, jewelry, and photographs from the Clothing and Textiles Collection featured in the exhibition will enrich visitors’ experiences and help to create a personal connection with the memory of Lois Hole.
Lois Hole, the Queen of Hugs coincides with the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences centennial year and was generously supported by the Faculty of ALES 100 and the Department of Human Ecology.
The exhiition is open to the public October 23, 2014 to March 22, 2015, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Human Ecology Gallery (main floor of the Human Ecology Building, corner of 116 St. and 89 Ave.).
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Colour Catch: Aesthetic Experiences through West African Textiles & Nature
April 8 to July 20, 2014.
Curated by the students of the course "Material Culture in the Home and Community" (HECOL 462) in the Department of Human Ecology.
Opening reception on April 8, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. -- free and open to the public.
University of Alberta North Campus
Human Ecology Building
On the north east corner of 116 Street and 89th Avenue
Main Floor Exhibition Space
Open to the public Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Enjoy a sensory feast!
Explore beyond the visual by taking the time to imaginatively engage with the artifacts presented. The aesthetic experience is based on the senses of sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell to holistically understand our environment. However, not all cultures base their experiences in these senses, as western cultures define them.
How do you understand your own experience of things you see, when you have limited engagement with them? We have created a multifaceted exhibit to encourage you to reflect on your own perspectives; then to delve into the personal stories of the collectors who have provided artifacts. We ask you to stop, look, and feel. The inherent qualities of the objects you see, such as colour, pattern, texture, and form, are innate to our understanding of the world around us. Enjoy an enticing exhibit that juxtaposes the intricate attributes of nature with those of West African textiles. Additional source material to enrich your journey is provided through the strategic placement of QR codes.
Artifacts exhibited are generously provided by:
The Department of Human Ecology's Clothing and Textiles Collection
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The Re-Birth of Venus: Fashion & the Venus Kallipygos
May 3, 2013, to March 2, 2014.
Co-curated by Anne Bissonnette, PhD, Sarah Nash, and Loretta Yau.
This exhibition is part of the graduate course "Material Culture & Curatorship" (HECOL 668) in the Department of Human Ecology.
Opening reception on May 3, 2013, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.-- free and open to the public.
The exhibition explores the influence of art on fashion through the study of Venus Kallipygos, a statue from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, and its pervasive influence on dress. Unlike other statues, this goddess exposes herself without a hint of modesty. The research investigates the artifact in terms of genre, production and cultural significance. We observe what this Venus is wearing and, as importantly, how it is worn and how it may have influenced late 18th century neoclassical fashion and late 19th and early 20th century dress behaviors.
FREE LECTURE as part of the Fashion Culture Network
29 October 2013 from 7 to 8 p.m.
TELUS Center, Room 150, University of Alberta.
Sponsorship for this exhibition has been provided by Holt Renfrew and Redefining Eve.
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PIONEER LADIES [of the evening]: A commemorative landscape for women on the margins in Western Canada, 1878-1916
September 13 to February 24, 2013.
Dr. Laurie K. Bertram, Guest Curator and Grant Notley Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow
Opening in September 2012 at the University of Alberta’s Human Ecology Gallery, the exhibition Pioneer Ladies [of the evening] uses a blend of mug shots and textile artifacts to explore the contributions of women on the margins to Western Canadian history from 1878 to 1916. As part of a larger response to the deaths and disappearances of thousands of impoverished and criminalized women in Western Canada over the past 100 years, guest curator Dr. Laurie K. Bertram argues that we inherit a vibrant and challenging heritage when women on the margins occupy the centre of our historical attention.
Edmonton’s version of this conceptual exhibition features historic garments and quilts from the University of Alberta’s comprehensive collection to commemorate the lives of several women arrested for a variety of offenses in Western Canada, including “making obscene images,” “assisting fugitives,” and “the keeping of a bawdy house” (see Edna Floyd, 1904, Winnipeg Police Museum Archives). Also included in the exhibition is one of Edmonton’s earliest and most infamous madams, “Big Nelly” Webb, who was acquitted in the shooting of a Mountie in self-defense in 1888. Other mug shots reveal similarly fascinating historical chapters that challenge our perceptions of women and Canadian “pioneer” iconography.
This exhibition is made possible by the Department of Human Ecology’s Material Culture Institute with initial support from PLATFORM Gallery (Winnipeg) and Núnanow Iceland Canada Art Convergence.
EXHIBITION TOUR & PANEL DISCUSSION
"Marginalized Women: Challenging History and Contemporary Inaction"
February 6, 2013 from 7 to 8 p.m.
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Waste Not, Want Not: Creating Through Recycling
Curated by Lauren MacDonald, under the supervision of Dr. Arlene Oak and Vlada Blinova
September 7, 2011, to March 12, 2012.
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In Mother’s Hood: Inuit Packing Dolls of Taloyoak
Anne Bissonnette, PhD and Christina Williamson, exhibition co-curators
September 9, 2010, to August 3, 2011.
This exhibition is part of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
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Anne Bissonnette, PhD, exhibition curator
October 1, 2009, to January 31, 2011.