Fancy Dress: From tutus to cosplay

Experience the joy of transformation at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

This glorious new exhibition shines a loving spotlight on our enduring passion for costume culture from the 1890s to today.

Tights and top hats. Bows and bonnets. Masks and manga. Fancy dress: From tutus to cosplay gives centre stage to over 130 years of dress ups, from the downright bizarre to the truly magnificent.

The exhibition boasts an enchanting collection of rarely seen historic images and film from the Tasmanian Archives, delighting in the weird, wild, wacky, and wonderful world of costume. Also featured are selected contemporary images from the public, vintage fancy dress costumes and handmade Tasmanian tutus.

Get curious and enjoy a host of revealing and fun-filled events, from a tableau vivant (or living image) to a dance performance and curator talks. Take home the beautiful exhibition catalogue of high-quality image reproductions as a keepsake.

We are also showing a selection of images submitted by you! We asked costume enthusiasts for their best photos and you didn’t disappoint.

A must-see for children, the young at heart, lovers of the performing arts, historical re-enactment fans, the cosplay community, dance schools and anyone with a passion for dressing up! This adorable exhibition is an inclusive, sumptuous, and friendly frolic into the joys of costume.

Fancy Dress: From tutus to cosplay is a free exhibition showing at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts from 10 March to 29 July 2023.

Get curious and go behind the scenes of the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art exhibition, Fancy Dress: From Tutus to Cosplay. Watch the video on Youtube.

Video transcript:

Transcript available soon.

Co-curators: Penny Carey-Wells and Caitlin Sutton

Free exhibition

10 March – 29 July 2023

Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
State Library and Archive Building
Ground floor, 91 Murray St
Hobart, Tasmania 7000

Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm,
Saturday 9:30 am to 2:00 pm,
closed Sunday and public holidays


Allport events and talks

Image Credit: Tasmanian Archives: Photograph album (black) – Family snapshots and local ballet portraits, NS648-1-7