A Visit to the “Costume Box” Museum

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Who doesn’t like to play dress up? People little and big all dream of putting on a fabulous costume and being someone else – that very idea is what helped build our city! And a little known gem of a museum in downtown L.A. features exhibits that appeals to the imaginations of budding fashionistas, thespians and rock stars (even dinosaurs?) — and to parents too! It’s the Museum at FIDM, which has gorgeous costumes on display for the annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibit. (Or “cool clothes from TV”, in everyday speak.)  It’s like the biggest, best costume box in the world, on display for your viewing pleasure…

photo courtesy of Joyce Kim Lee

Hey, Is That Twist?  And Shout?
There are TV costumes for everyone to enjoy – even (especially) kids!  The Fresh Beat Band is represented with costumes from two episodes – and an episode is playing at the exhibit, should you need to park the kids in front of it while you take a closer look at the gorgeous Downton Abbey costumes.

We got the inside scoop from Joyce Kim Lee, the costume designer on The Fresh Beat Band, on just what it’s like to make and wear these costumes.  She told us that for the Wizard of Song episode the costumers had to make the guard hat in 20 minutes – with feathers flying, a tape assembly line and hot glue going all at one time, it was kind of like the chocolate assembly line episode on I Love Lucy! Thomas Hobson, who plays Shout, said that when he was wearing the lion costume he was trying to run away from the witch in those big old feet and he fell down…then he couldn’t get up because of the suit!  Tara Perry, who plays Marina, told us that she loved the dinosaur costume for Veloci-Rap-Star – but trying to dance with those feet was incredibly difficult. And it just so happened that the choreography that week involved lots of jumping and kicking…

photo courtesy of Joyce Kim Lee

Kiddos will also get a kick out of the royal costumes from Game of Thrones and the fairy tale gorgeousness from Once Upon a Time, while you get to peek at clothes from The New Girl and Boardwalk Empire… (FYI, there are also costumes from American Horror Story, which adults seem to find creepier than kids, but if you have sensitive little ones, you may want to skip that set of costumes.)
Take A Play Break

photo courtesy of Meghan Rose

No matter how cool the exhibit, every experienced parent knows that kids have a finite period that they can use inside voices and practice “looking-but-not-touching”.

photo courtesy of Meghan Rose

When your little ones have reached their limit it’s time to head outside.  Right in front of the museum is a big grassy lawn where kids can run and play (and ride the brass dogs that dot the lawn).  Then they can make their way to an urban playground, complete with bouncy bugs, slides and shaded climbers.

photo courtesy of Meghan Rose

Shop Till You Drop
Ready for a little shopping?  Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting someplace fancy or expensive.  One of the ways that FIDM funds scholarships is with the Scholarship Store (entrance on S. Grand Ave.).  They get donations of overruns from local designers and sell them for pennies on the dollar.  You never know what you’ll find, and you can score some fantastic deals on clothing.  But the real draw here (for the kiddos) is the accessories!  Bins and bins of hair accessories, necklaces, earrings, rings, nail polish, hats, sunglasses all go for $.25 – $2.  There are bags of random buttons, zippers, fashion toys and fabric remnants, too that make wonderful inexpensive and creative art supplies.  And when wedding and prom dresses are on sale for $10-$40, it’s even fun to buy some real-dress dress up (which you, crafty friends, or even your kids can cut and safety pin down to size)!

photo courtesy of Meghan Rose

FIDM is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles at 919 S. Grand Ave.  There is plenty of street parking at meters all around the campus.  The Emmy Costume exhibit runs through October 20th and is FREE and open to the public.  The museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am -5:00 pm.

“Like” this story if you’ve been to FIDM with your kiddos and then let us know below your tips for enjoying a day downtown with the fam. 

— Meghan Rose

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