Kent State Museum, College of the Arts channel the ’80s in latest exhibit

An ’80s display, part of an exhibit in the Kent State University Museum, in Rockwell Hall Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.

Ella Abbott

Guests of the Kent State University Museum partied like it was 1985 on Friday night.

The museum, in collaboration with the College of the Arts, held an ’80s-themed party in the Rockwell Hall Atrium where guests were encouraged to eat, drink, dance and browse the museum.

The theme for the night was chosen based on the “The 1980s: An Age of Excess” exhibit, which the museum will hold until early next year.

Harriet McLeod, an associate professor in the fashion design and merchandising department, couldn’t stop dancing to the music of the decade even as she talked about the event.

“I wanted to come because they always have great exhibitions and tonight they’re pairing with the ’80s exhibition that they have by having a party,” McLeod said.

Lindsay Martin, the marketing assistant in the College of the Arts, planned the party and said she was pleased with turnout for the evening.

“Whoever came is really into the spirit and is dressing the part,” Martin said. “I’m very glad the older crowd came, too, but I’m hoping next time we get some more students involved.”

While the “Awesome ’80s Dance Party” is the first time the museum has done a mixer event, Martin is optimistic that it won’t be the last time.

“I know next semester we’re going to try and do a Katharine Hepburn one,” Martin said. “So, this is really the first, pivotal trying to integrate the museum for evening hours in a fun event.”

“The 1980s: An Age of Excess” exhibit was curated by Jean Druesedow, the director of the museum, and Victoria Haworth, a former Kent State fashion merchandising student.

“I never really thought much about (the ’80s) except shoulder pads and sort of a frumpy look, really,” Druesedow said. “But then I got the clothes out for the exhibition and they were really beautiful.”

Druesedow and Haworth began by going through storage and pulling things that showed an influence on modern fashion trends. Ultimately, they decided to arrange the items in color groups for the exhibit.

The exhibit also features illustrations by Antonio Lopez, who Druesedow described as an important fashion illustrator throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Lopez’s illustrations were featured at Kent State in 1984 when he visited to teach an illustration workshop in the Fashion School.

“He could anticipate what the next season was going to look like,” Druesedow said. “So, his illustrations were always influential in terms of what designers would do the next season.”

Along with snacks and a bar, which featured a “fuzzy navel” as the specialty drink, guests were encouraged to take advantage of the extended hours of the museum to browse the collection.

Guests like McLeod turned the open space into a dance floor for the night, enjoying throwback tunes the DJ played, including A-ha’s “Take on Me” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

“Who could not have a good time with this classic music playing in the background, good people to dance with?” McLeod asked. “Reliving great memories. I love it.”

 Ella Abbott is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected]