Last updated: 5/3/2018
Fort Collins, Colorado
216 E. Lake St.Fort Collins, CO 80523


Monday - Friday
11 AM - 5 PM
Closed for University Holidays, Fall, Winter and Spring Breaks


Self-Guided Exhibitions Exhibitions at the five galleries comprising the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising are designed to be self-guided for both individuals and groups; guided tours are not provided. There is no charge for visiting the exhibitions during public hours of operation.



Doreen Beard, Director of Operations and Engagement
Katie Knowles, Assistant Professor and Curator of the Avenir Museum
Megan Osborne, Collection Manager

The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is Colorado State University’s historic costume and textiles collection. Its mission is the exploration of the aesthetic, social, cultural and physical significance of textiles, dress and interior furnishings. The collection originated in the early 1950s as a small faculty teaching resource in the former Department of Home Economics; until 2009, storage and exhibition space in the Gustafson Gallery were housed in the Gifford Building.

FREE and open to the public

The Avenir Museum includes five galleries located in three campus buildings, where objects are regularly exhibited and students have the opportunity to work with artifacts according to museum standards of care and handling. The Avenir collection is comprised of over 18,000 artifacts of historically and culturally significant objects.


The Avenir Foundation made the Museum's first premises at the University Center for the Arts possible with a generous gift in 2008, featuring climate-controlled storage, a reading/seminar room, dedicated classroom, conservation lab, and curatorial offices.

In 2012, the Avenir Foundation built upon their 2008 generosity, with an additional lead gift to expand the Museum’s ability to support its mission. Since the Foundation derives its name from the French word for “future”, we salute its vision in helping to weave the future of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising.

Artifact Collections

The Avenir collection is comprised of over 20,000 artifacts of historically and culturally significant objects related primarily to 19th and 20th century EuroAmerican material culture as well as non-Western material culture with depth in India, China, Japan, Central Asia, and Latin America; collections are used for teaching, research, and interpretive exhibitions.

Special collections include:

Designer garments from Calvin Klein, Arnold Scaasi, James Galanos, Carolina Herrera, Pauline Trigère, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Versace. T
The largest public-held collection of designs by Mr. Richard Blackwell, self-proclaimed arbiter of fashion and author of the annual celebrity Best- and Worst-Dressed Lists of the 1960s-2000s.
Ethnographic holdings include The Maxson Collection of over 300 Japanese kimono, the Judi Arndt Collection of Central Asian ikat and embroidered textiles, the Martha Egan collection of over 200 Latin American pieces, and a collection Pre-Columbian textiles from Peru.
The Ruth Payne Hellmann Lace Collection consisting of over 1,500 pieces of historic lace and lacemaking tools.
Research Approval

Advance appointments to access Collections Storage may be made by researchers for academic inquiry or other purpose approved by the Curator/Collections Manager. Research credentials must be presented and approved by the Curator/Collections Manager before a reservation is confirmed and put on the research appointment calendar. There is no charge for approved research appointments; credit to the Avenir Museum, Department of Design and Merchandising, Colorado State University is expected. Please call 970-491-1983 or email a minimum of four weeks before the requested date(s) of access.

Access: Students, Scholars
Appointment required: Yes
Behind-the-Scenes Group Tours

Curator-led tours of Collections Storage include viewing of 6-8 special pieces in the collections work areas, a brief presentation about how the Avenir Museum cares for its collection, and a Q&A session. Behind-the-Scenes tours may be arranged on the following terms:

A maximum of fifteen (15) people may be accommodated in one reservation – this maximum number is firm, and protects the visitor as well as the collection.

Behind-the-Scenes tours are 60-90 minutes in length; the cost is $300.

If your group numbers more than fifteen people, an additional reservation and cost applies.

Standing and walking are required, as there is no seating area in these work spaces.

Minimum four-week-advance reservation is required; the desired date/time is dependent upon museum staff availability.

Single payment-by-check is required and due at time of the tour; checks must be made out to: Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, with TOUR FEE noted in the memo line.

Group Tours

There is no dedicated visitor parking for the Avenir Museum. On-street parking is located in the neighborhoods surrounding the University Center for the Arts and the Avenir Museum.

Museum Events
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Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

Richmond, Virginia

2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD

2024 Colorado-Wyoming ANNUAL MEETING

May 1 - 4, 2024

Worland, Wyoming


Museum Vendors

03/07 John Scott, Conservator of Art and Architecture

New York, New York

03/07 Stories USA, Inc.

Ellicott City, Maryland

Museum Associations

03/07 Florida Association of Museums

Tallahassee, Florida

03/07 Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums

Denver, Colorado