Jack Tar Togs at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

GRAND RAPIDS- Many U.S. museums hold collections of fashion items, to better illustrate not only what people wore, but how objects were actually made.

One such encyclopedic collection is at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Like the The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Michigan museum preserves a wide variety of clothing, including an original Jack Tar Togs children’s shirt, which they date from 1920 to 1940.

The description reads:

This child’s sailor shirt is made of white cotton and has a blue collar as well as blue cuffs. There is a red stripe around the proper right sleeve and a patch similar to the United States Navy’s Chief Petty Officer patch on the proper left sleeve. There is also an interior label that reads “Rub ‘Em, Tub ‘Em, Scrub ‘Em, Jack Tar Togs, They Come Up Smiling”. 

Grand Rapids Public Museum Catalog

The object, a gift of collector Thomas Lockhart Wilson, is number 141025.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum, founded in 1854, stewards over 250,000 objects, making it one of the largest museum collections in Michigan. The majority of the collections were “donated by the people of West Michigan to be used by the GRPM to help fulfill its mission of education and inspiration through broad public accessibility.” The collections are divided into three areas, science, culture and history.

Learn about the museum and its collections at grpmcollections.org