Female Form: Mannequins and Making Meaning in the Museum

Fashion and Design Talk Series

Thu 18 Apr 2019


WA Maritime Museum

By dressing a mannequin in a costume collection, the person represented by the garment becomes an object herself.

Without a physical form, museum visitors only sees the object on display. The addition of limbs, skin colour, accessories, a face personifies the object and visitors attribute character and identity to the representation. However, representation is a social construct, and when a museum exhibition employs heavily gendered and feminised content, cultural assumptions, and beliefs directly influence both curatorial and visitor-made meaning.

Case studies of fashion and costume exhibitions in Australian museums will be explored during this lecture to investigate the meaning made when mannequins are used to represent real women in history.

This special presentation is free with Museum entry. It also includes entry to the Museum's latest exhibition Kylie on Stage.

Tickets are limited, secure your place by calling 1300 134 081 or by using the below link.

Secure your Place!

This lecture is presented by Toni Church. Toni is a PhD candidate and sessional academic at the University of Notre Dame Australia. She has worked with the Western Australian Museum, National Trust of Western Australia, National Anzac Centre and Sydney Living Museums, before undertaking a creative PhD project combining her passions for Australian and Women’s histories with her professional museum experience.

Caption: Inside the Kylie on Stage exhibition at the WA Maritime Museum.

Credit: WA Museum

Getting Here


Victoria Quay Road,
Western Australia,


1300 134 081

By Train
The WA Maritime Museum is located within walking distance of Fremantle Station visit the Transperth website for timetables.

By Bus
The WA Maritime Museum is serviced by the free Fremantle Cat Service, at Red stop 1. Visit the Transperth website for timetables and details.

By Car
Paid parking is available in the Wilsons car park at the WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay Road.

By Ferry
Captain Cook Cruises offer a range of ferry services from Perth which stop nearby at B-Shed ferry terminal.