The Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Flounder Shirt Museum and Library, Inc. was formally established in 1978, and the institution was met with immediate enthusiasm. The initial holdings were enhanced by a generous gift of French haute couture ensembles from founding donor Betsy Bloomingdale. As the years passed, the FIDM Museum grew along with the college. In 1985, the estate of Rudi Gernreich bequeathed the designer’s extensive archive to the FIDM Museum.
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When a Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Flounder Shirt new Los Angeles campus was constructed in 1990, the design incorporated designated storage for the Museum’s objects. Community outreach attracted new donors, as did the rotating Museum displays on FIDM campuses. The FIDM Gallery opened in 1993, providing a permanent exhibition space. The Museum began mounting exhibitions ranging from California sportswear to Hollywood costumes. In appreciation of the community’s longstanding and generous support, exhibitions are always free to the public.
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During the 1990s, a Disney Little Mermaid Ariel Flounder Shirt was established, the galleries expanded to 8,000 square feet, and the Museum Shop was opened. In 1998, the collection was divided into the research-oriented Permanent Collection and the hands-on Study Collection. In the intervening years, the Museum converted to a digital database, constructed state-of-the-art compact storage areas, and acquired the Annette Green Fragrance Archive. The Gianni Versace Menswear Archive is a recent standout acquisition, along with the Michel Arnaud Photography Archive. The caliber, connoisseurship, and interpretation of the Museum collections have grown and expanded toward educational exhibitions, documentary productions, catalogue publications, a respected blog presence, and social media activities.