Katharine Hepburn: The actress, the icon, the exhibit

Jean L. Druesedow, Director of the Kent State University Museum, gives a tour of the Katharine Hepburn exhibit in Rockwell Hall.

Abigail Miller

The Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen exhibit allowed visitors to have an intimate glimpse inside of her life and career.   

Returning after its six year absence from the museum, the exhibit is shown at the Kent State Museum, displaying a collection of Hepburn’s costumes.

Museum curator Sara Hume said she received countless enquiries about when Kent would be bringing the exhibit back.

“It’s just been so popular (the exhibit),” she said. “I’ve gone around and given speaking engagements and there would be people who ask about Katharine Hepburn. ‘Is she coming back?’ ‘Is she coming back?’ It’s really nice to be able to say ‘yeah, she is.’”

Hepburn was a world renowned actress who specialized in stage, screen and television. She starred in the film “The Philadelphia Story,” the made-for-television film “Love Amongst the Ruins,” and starred on Broadway in the musical “Coco.”

In addition to that, Hepburn won four Academy Awards, as well as a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild award. She also holds the record of second-most Academy Award nominations of all time.

Museum director Jean Druesedow explained how reflecting on Hepburn’s achievements is a large part of what she wants people to do when attending the exhibit.

“It’s admiring her accomplishments, what she did; four Academy Awards, 12 Academy Award nominations. Plus, all the films: 46 movies,” she said.

Druesedow thinks that even though Hepburn’s known as being strong-willed, she had to play the part in the beginning.

“You know she tried early on in her career,” Druesedow said. “She didn’t have any choice about what she did really as a studio performer, but it didn’t last very long because then she took control of her career and that made a huge difference.”

Hume said that you are able to get a glimpse into Hepburn’s “thrifty and mindful” nature with pieces from the exhibit.

“One of the things that was interesting about Katharine Hepburn was that looking at the stuff that we have in our collection, you could see that she really used things,” Hume said. “She didn’t just throw things away when they got used, so there’s a lot of patched things. So, that’s kind of a surprise when you actually see her things, verses just the image of her.”

Abigail Miller is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].