Museum of Costume fashions new look

One of Bath’s key attractions, the Museum of Costume, is to reinvent itself with a radical overhaul of its brand identity and exhibition space, to be unveiled next month.

From 17 July, the museum will become The Fashion Museum and sport a fresh identity, as well as revamped interiors and displays.

Local consultancy Northbank has reworked the branding, while the interiors and exhibition space has been overhauled by Leicester design and build group Haley Sharpe.

The museum chose Northbank in March following a four-way pitch, which only included local consultancies.

The attraction’s commercial manager Patricia Dunlop explains that the purpose of the museum is to put the fashion and trends that the public sees on the high street in an historical context.

‘We found that there was misunderstanding about what the museum is. “Costume” suggests theatre and performance, but the museum is about the history of fashion. We needed to reflect this, while making ourselves more relevant to a younger audience and broadening our appeal,’ she says.

Northbank devised a logo which, according to creative director Simon Cryer, has a ‘whole host of associations that help bring the museum to life’. He says that up until now the museum has never reached its full potential.

The logo also needed to sit well alongside the endorsement – placed at the bottom of the website and print material – of Bath & North East Somerset Council, which runs the museum.

The museum’s outward presence has been increased through visual language that will be used across window banners, as well as posters, advertising, website, wayfinding and promotional material.

Cryer says that increased street presence will have a positive impact on footfall.

In conjunction with the museum director and curator Rosemary Harden, Haley Sharpe has overhauled the collection displays, and devised ways to improve lighting without damaging sensitive antique fabrics.

By using spot colours from the logo, flooring, walls and displays have been designed to harmonise with the new visual brand language to create a stronger overall identity.

The collections – menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, as well as accessories – have up until now been exhibited in chronological order.

The new arrangement will see collections exhibited by garment – with old and new items sitting alongside one another to highlight the evolution of the garment.

Visitor participation has also been incorporated into the museum’s new programme, with visitors now able to try on selected historical items.

• The museum was established in 1963 with the donation of historian Doris Langley Moore’s private collection of costume to the city of Bath
• It contains more than 30 000 fashion items dating from the late 16th century to the present day
• It has been praised by the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives as ‘an outstanding collection of national pre-eminence’
• For more information, visit

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