Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. in Human Sciences

Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design specialization

University of Nebraska- Lincoln                       

Degree received: May 2022                                   Cumulative GPA: 3.886

Dissertation Title: “The Hand that Plied the Needle: The Reproduction of Historical Garments as Research Methodology”

Committee: Sandra Starkey (chair), Claire Nicholas, Marilyn Grady, Michael Burton, Jennifer Jorgensen-Johnson

MA in Costume History                            

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Degree received: August 2013                               Cumulative GPA: 3.866

Thesis Title: “Constructing History: Structures and Silhouettes”

Advisor: Barbara Trout

BA in History/ Fine Arts (theatre concentration), minor in Art History           

Cedar Crest College in Allentown PA

Degree received May 2010                                     Cumulative GPA: 3.894

Research Interests

  • Historic clothing, material culture and cultural history
  • Historic costume reproduction
  • Experimental archeology and practical research methods
  • Women’s studies and needlecraft
  • Museum studies and collections management/curation

Research Presentations

  • Stella Blum Award paper presentation at Costume Society of                America’s National Symposium (virtual conference) May 2021
  • Paper presentation on early sewing machine technology and stitch patterns at Costume Society of America’s National Symposium (virtual conference) May 2021
  • Paper presentation on Native American Powwow Regalia
  • at Costume Society of America’s National Symposium at Colonial Williamburg, VA Spring 2018
  • Poster presentation of artifact analysis of 18th century quilt at           International Textiles and Apparel Association’s national meeting in St. Petersburg, FL Fall 2017
  • Paper presentation on gender roles and fashion history at the            Costume Society of America’s regional conference in Minneapolis, MN Fall 2014
  • Presented Master’s thesis research on embroidery and handwork at Costume Society of America’s regional conference in Chicago, IL Fall 2013
  • Mounted multifaceted exhibition of historical garments and              reproduction apparel in the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery Spring 2013

Awards and Recognitions

  • Costume Society of America Stella Blum Student Research Award 2018
  • Finalist for Betty Kirke Excellence in Research Award for research presented at Costume Society of America National Symposium 2018
  •   Lincoln Quilt Guild Student Research Grant  2017-2018
  • Invited to show recent design work in exhibition “Where the Women Are Now” at Cedar Crest College 2017
  • Invited to sit on panel for the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery       2017  exhibition reception titled “Teaching From The Collections”             
  • Mary Mitchell Fashion Excellence Award of Distinction (UNL)         2015
  • Four featured garment designs in the TMFD                                      2015 Biennial Student Juried Exhibition
  • Costume Society of America Midwest Student Travel Award           2014
  • Helen S. Weinberger Prize for History (Cedar Crest College)            2010

Leadership Experience

Founding Member/President of TMFD Graduate Student Organization 2019-21

Evaluator- UCARE applications in fields of anthropology,                         2017-22 legal history, and art           

Evaluator- Nebraska State 4-H fashion review                                          Fall 2016

Director- TMFD Biennial Student Fashion Show                                      April 2016

Assistant Director- TMFD Student Design Showcase                             April 2015 at Sheldon Museum of Art            

TMFD Faculty Hiring Committee                                                               2014-15

Chapter President- Phi Alpha Theta (history honorary)                         2008-10

Chapter Vice President- Alpha Psi Omega (theatre honorary)              2009-10  

Wardrobe Supervisor/Lead Stitcher 2010 Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park                                         

Wardrobe Supervisor/Head Dresser 2010 Snoopy Rocks! On Ice at Dorney Park       

Director/Producer- Vagina Monologues at Cedar Crest College                2010     


McPherson, M. J. (2022). The Hand that Plied the Needle: Making Historical Garments as Research Methodology (Order No. 29166405). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Nebraska – Lincoln; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. (2658291708).

McPherson, M., Nicholas, C. (2017). Artifact Analysis: A Petticoat Quilt’s Pedigree. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 74(1).

McPherson, M., Starkey, S. (under review). Preserving the History of Degrading Objects: an Adrian Originals Evening Gown.

McPherson, M. J. (in preparation). Stella Blum Student Research Grant Report: Historical Garment Making.

McPherson, M. J., Starkey, S. (in preparation). Make Do and Mend: Experiential Learning and Historical Context through Historical Costume Reproduction.

McPherson, M. J., Starkey, S. (in preparation). “Who Sees Who Sew?”: Hidden Histories and Museum Mysteries of the Early Sewing Machine.

McPherson, M. J., Starkey, S. (in preparation). Gatekeeping in Historical Costuming: Reflecting on Historical Accuracy and Inclusivity.

McPherson, M. J., Starkey, S., Nicholas, C., Burton, M., Grady, M. and Jorgensen, J. (in preparation). Historical Garment Reproduction as Research Methodology: A Framework for Remaking History.

Vocational Experience

Repairs, Alterations, Tailoring and Custom Sewing         Fall 2015-current

Cutter/Stitcher at Pechous Upholstering Co.     Summer 19- Spring 20 Duties included: drafting patterns and the cutting/construction of cushions, pillows, and other upholstered furniture, working with designer, carpenter, upholsterers, and fillings specialist in the repair and creation of three-dimensional softgoods.

Graduate in charge of inventory                                                    Summer 2015 UNL Historic Costume Collection Duties included: development of inventory practices for costume collection, determining quantity of collection and identify strengths and deficits, organizing data for use in online database, creating work list for future graduate assistants, developing volunteer opportunities for community outreach, completing handbook on guidelines for costume collection practices.

Collections assistant of the UNL Historic Costume Collection  2011-14 Duties included: care and maintenance of historic garments, basic textile conservation, assisting in development of exhibition featuring historic garments, vacuuming and preparing new garments for accessioning, developing storage and display methods, applying proper techniques for handling and examining historic artifacts, development of social media presence.

Assistant to Director of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery 2011- 13 Duties included: exhibit installation, gallery lighting, exhibit design, writing didactics and labels, developing display mounts for various artifacts and objects, designing and writing press documentation for textiles gallery, communication with invited and featured artists, providing tours and informational sessions with outreach groups and guests.

Intern in Historic Trades at Colonial Williamsburg                  Summer 2013 Duties included: interpretation and interaction with the public, researching women’s garments and accessories of the 1770s in Colonial America, studying artifacts in the costume collection directed by Linda Baumgarten, practice of 18th century sewing and handwork techniques in the production of reproduction and interpreted historically accurate clothing.

Intern at the Nebraska State History Museum                             Spring 2012 Duties included: Cataloging and dating women’s clothing from 1920s and 1930s, researching donor and family history, creating more detailed descriptions of garments, reporting condition of artifacts and analyzing potential storage concerns, utilizing facility database to update artifact records, applying proper techniques for handling and examining historic artifacts.

Teaching Experience


Fall 2020                                                     Metropolitan Community College, NE

Illustration for Fashion Design                                                   FASH 2100 Course Description: asynchronous, virtual learning experience. Drawing garments and the fashion figure, focusing on proportion and developing personal style. Use of various mediums including pencil, ink, watercolor, and marker.

Illustration for Interiors                                                                 INTD 2100 Course Description: asynchronous, virtual learning experience. Drawing interiors, focusing on proportion and spatial awareness, as well as furniture design and styling. Use of various mediums including pencil, ink, watercolor, and marker. 

Introduction to Fashion Design                                                   FASH 1000 Course Description: asynchronous, virtual learning experience. Incorporation and use of design elements and principles. Gain experience with fashion sketching and hand sewing basics.

Spring 2019                                                           University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Product Development III                                                              TMFD 312 Course Description: Drawing garments and the fashion figure. Aesthetic styling and presentation, refining product specifications, and interpretations of current trends.

Fall 2018

Product Development II                                                   TMFD 212    Course Description: Analysis of the apparel product development process with an emphasis on analysis and evaluation of apparel structure related to design, style, and construction variations, quality, price and performance.

History of Dress                                                                              TMFD 407/807 Course Description: Theoretical approach to the history of dress from ancient times through the twentieth century; examining dress in the context of social, economic and artistic development of Western culture.

Spring 2018

Product Development II                                                               TMFD 212

Product Development III                                                              TMFD 312 

Draping                                                                                            TMFD 403/803 Course Description: Creative experience in apparel design with an emphasis on structural design, pattern making through draping on the form, and developing design through drawing.

Fall 2017

Product Development III                                                              TMFD 312

Flat Pattern                                                                                       TMFD 216 Course Description: Creative and technical experience in apparel design through the use of flat pattern methods.

History of Dress                                                                        TMFD 407/807

Graduate Instructor:

Spring 2017

Product Development II                                                        TMFD 212   

Fall 2016

History of Costume                                        TMFD 407/807

Product Development II                                                      TMFD 212  

Spring 2016

Apparel Design for Industry: Line Development                    TMFD 416    Course Description: Creative experience in apparel design with an emphasis on structural design, pattern making, and industrial processes that result in the development of a line of garments.

Spring 2015

Draping                                                                                         TMFD 406 

Fall 2014                            

Apparel Design for Industry: Line Development                    TMFD 416

Spring 2014

Fashion of the Roaring 20s (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)  Course Description: A look at high fashion and the everyday wardrobes of the 1920s, discussing lifestyle and social changes, as well as connections from the 1920s fashions to other eras in clothing.

Teaching Assistant:

Product Development II                                                                                  Fall 2015

  • Graded hand-drawn flats for accuracy, professionalism and procedure

Flat Pattern                                                                                                       Fall 2015

  • Graded pattern manipulations for beginning and intermediate design students

History of Costume                                                                                         Fall 2013

  • Assisted in presenting lectures to multilevel class on various topics
  • Graded exams, assessments, and written work
  • Assisted in development of assessment materials

Professional Memberships

  • Costume Society of America (CSA) 2012- current
  • International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA) 2014- current
  • Alpha Psi Omega- theatre honorary, 2007-2010
  • Phi Alpha Theta- history honorary, 2008-2010


References available upon request.