Looking for the perfect outfit to win any costume contest this Halloween season? The Costume Shop at Millersville University has you covered. Located in Jefferson Hall, the shop stores over 25,000 costumes and accessories available to the public for rent.
In 1975, Jean Loeb acquired an initial collection of about 8,000 costumes from the inventory of Philadelphia costumers Wass & Son. Loeb’s daughter was interested in theater and involved in shows at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, and Loeb collected the costumes for her while renting them out as well. By 1982, Loeb’s collection grew to over 10,000 costumes and she donated them to Millersville University.
Due to the size of the donated collection, the Costume Shop at MU opened up to the community. Those interested in visiting the shop do not need to be affiliated with the University in order to rent a costume and can do so for up to one week.
The Costume Shop is run by director Priscilla Kaufhold, who oversees the shop’s operations. The shop not only rents pieces, but they also create costumes for school theater productions in and around the area. Some pieces the shop created include the clock outfit worn by the character Cogsworth in “Beauty and the Beast” and the transforming dress in “Cinderella.”
The shop has plenty of costumes from other theater shows, like “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Mary Poppins,” including the character’s magic carpet bag, complete with a hole in the bottom. They also have plenty of nonspecific period costumes, including Victorian outfits, western wear, 1920s flapper dresses and much more.
“It’s really nice being around lovely things,” Kaufhold says of the collection. “I’ve been here ever since the early days of the shop, and it’s been really fun.”
The shop takes donations of vintage clothing, other costumes and even miscellaneous fabric. Kaufhold explains that the fabric can always be repurposed and added to another article already in the collection, like lace around the collar or wrists of a dress, for example. “It’s those layers that make the costume,” she says.
“I love the learning aspect,” Kaufhold adds. “We have a wonderful learning experience here, with all the historical and vintage pieces, and I would love for more opportunities to share that.”
The Costume Shop is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3-7 p.m. Those interested in learning more or renting a costume can visit the shop during those hours, or reach out for more information by calling (717) 871-5653 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Workers Needed
The Costume Shop is looking for student workers. If interested, please email email@example.com to learn more.