Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Kelly Richardson
IU Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design

Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fantasia Debuts at Monroe County History Center

Oct. 17, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As a fashion accessory, a status symbol and a heat relief device, hand-held fans have played a practical and ornamental role in fashion design and culture for thousands of years.

To celebrate the historic and artistic foundations of hand-held fans, the Sage Collection, which is part of the Indiana University Department of Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design, is staging an exhibit of more than 90 of its 300 archived fans. "Fantasia: Fans from the Sage Collection" is open to the public at the Monroe County History Center until Jan. 5, 2008.


"Fantasia" celebrates the historic and artistic foundations of the hand-held fan.

Fantasia explores the use of the hand-held fan as a personal accessory and form of adornment throughout history, from its beginnings in the Middle and Far East to its height in the 18th and 19th centuries as a Western fashion statement and its eventual decline in the early 20th century.

"Historically, fans have been part of various global cultures for millennia. Artistically, fans provide a medium for design, and actually communicate through a language of unique expression," said Kate Rowold, Ph.D., Sage Collection curator and professor of fashion design and culture at Indiana University. "Fantasia visitors will have the opportunity to view the many forms and ways in which fans have been used throughout history for ceremonial and practical purposes, as symbols of high status, and as feminine playthings."

Fantasia's opening reception will be on Friday, Oct. 19, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Monroe County History Center. The reception is open to the public and visitors will have the opportunity to meet Rowold and the Sage Collection's assistant curator, Kelly Richardson. Rowold and Richardson will also host a public seminar on "The History and Language of Fans" on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Monroe County History Center.

Admission to the Monroe County History Center, 202 E. Sixth St. in Bloomington, is $2 for adults, $1 for children ages 5 to 18, and free for younger children and members. Museum and Fantasia exhibit hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Sage Collection

With 20,000 pieces in its archives, the Sage Collection ( is among the nation's premier collections of historical and contemporary clothing, accessories and educational fashion resources. Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2007, the Sage Collection was founded by Elizabeth Sage, Indiana University's first professor of clothing and textiles, and today serves as a high-quality museum collection intended for exhibition and research, as well as a hands-on laboratory and studio for Indiana University fashion design and culture students.

Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design

Indiana University's Department of Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design ( is a multidisciplinary academic environment within the university's College of Arts and Sciences that helps motivated students shape their futures in retail and design fields. The department's educational programs offer a blend of academic theory combined with practical knowledge and skill-building techniques to encourage critical, independent thinking by students and prepare graduates to be leaders in their chosen fields. Located in Memorial Hall on the IUB campus, AMID enrolled more than 460 undergraduate majors in the Fall 2007 semester.