Decorative Arts Center of Ohio Costume Exhibit
By Anietra Hamper

Decorative Arts Center of Ohio Costume Exhibit

It is hard to imagine what might have happened to some of Hollywood’s most iconic movie costumes and props if Lancaster, Ohio native Randall Thropp had not discovered his calling as a Paramount Pictures costume supervisor and later a costume archivist for the studio.

This character mask from the sci-fi action movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobrais just one of the more than 40 costumes on display at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster in a special exhibit called Creating the Illusion: Costumes & Characters from the Paramount Pictures Archive.


This special exhibit represents just a sampling of the more than 3,500 vintage costumes, 12,500 pieces of jewelry and 28,000 costume pieces that Thropp has archived. The costumes come from some of Paramount Pictures’ most iconic movies like Forrest Gump, Star Trek: Into Darknessand The Addams Family. This is the first time that many of these costumes have ever been on display.

A stroll through the galleries and “ah-ha” moments that come with remembering the scenes from favorite movies also provides an education about how costumes make movie characters unforgettable. Thropp explains how the details of each costume are specifically designed for the character.

“In the case of Axel Foley (from Beverly Hills Cop 2),what would that character be without his signature Detroit Lions jacket and Mumford t-shirt? What would Morticia Addams be without a form-fitting, long sleeve gown with a beaded spider motif on the front?” said Thropp.


The exhibit is modeled after the book Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers by Jay Jorgensen, a notable film and fashion historian and Donald Scoggins. The book dives into to the symbiotic relationship between costume designers and the characters they create. This is the experience that Thropp wants to recreate for those who come to visit the exhibition.

Science Fiction buffs will especially love the behind-the-scenes information about the Hollywood magic that goes into creating memorable characters and the super powers they possess. You will find out exactly how Arthur Spiderwick from The Spiderwick Chronicles walks on air in the final scenes as Thropp lifts the veil on some of the illusions and special effects that mesmerize audiences.

As a native of Lancaster, Thropp enjoys sharing his Hollywood connection by bringing costumes and characters to life in these rare exhibitions. Thropp started working in the costume rental department at Paramount Pictures in 2003. When the department closed its doors in 2007 Thropp took on the mission of salvaging costumes that had been destroyed, lost and sold in an effort to preserve Hollywood history. Before overseeing costume rentals, Thropp had a seasoned career under his belt as a costume supervisor for a number of productions and TV shows. His passion for preserving costumes and the memories they inspire for movie-goers continues as does his passion for giving Ohioans a special glimpse into the movie world.

Creating the Illusion: Costumes & Characters from the Paramount Pictures Archiveruns through August 19, 2018 but the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio has regular rotating exhibits to enjoy throughout the year.

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About the Author

For Anietra Hamper, writing is a passion. Anietra spent nearly 20 years as a top-rated television news Anchor telling thousands of stories that impact people's lives. Now, away from the spotlight, Anietra is a published travel writer. In fall 2013, Anietra was honored to be selected as a member of the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers. Anietra's zest for exploration and photography has taken her to untouched regions of Vietnam and tribal territories of the Philippines, sharing those journeys along the way through articles and blogs. Anietra is also a correspondent for Child Fund International; one of the largest non-Government Organizations in the world. Anietra graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and studied journalism at American University in Washington D.C. She enjoys fishing, photography, fitness and playing with her rescued dog Sunny. You can follow Anietra online at and Facebook/ThreeWordPress.