National Museum of Dance
National Museum of Dance
National Museum of Dance

About The Collection

The original focus of the collection was primarily Hall of Fame inductees and therefore a reflection and record of the individual history and development of the Museum. Over the years, the collection has further evolved to include materials from exhibitions mounted at the Museum as well as items of consequence to the considerable history of dance. At present, the Museum’s repository is composed of several established collections of note in addition to independent artifacts, categorized as either objects or archival materials. A comprehensive library of dance books and periodicals comprises the Museum’s resource collection.

Objects include costumes, set pieces, and works of fine art. Costumes from myriad artists and dance companies such as Anna Pavlova, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Irma Duncan, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Ruth St. Denis constitute the majority of the objects in the collection. Archival materials perhaps best articulate the increasing diversity and range of the collection and encompass correspondence, photographs, audiovisual materials, books, playbills, season programs, posters, and scrapbooks. Thousands of photographs form the foundation of the archive and serve as critical documentation of American dance, including images of early, retired, or lost dance works; costume design; artists; and performance. The range of photographers represented includes trailblazers like Barbara Morgan, Max Waldman, Cris Alexander, Maurice Seymour, Fred Fehl, Carolyn George, Steven Caras, Paul Kolnik, and Martha Swope. Other archival highlights are season programs from an array of dance companies such as American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In concert with future exhibitions and education initiatives, the Museum aims to further explore and promote the tremendous scope of the art form through the continued, measured growth of its collection.