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All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

In 1942, as fears of potential damage to the MFA’s building grew due to WWII, this ancient and treasured portrait bust of Egyptian Prince Ankh-haf (left) created in 2575-2550 B.C. was evacuated to a safe location in western Massachusetts. A plaster copy was made and displayed in its place.

When reinstalling the original work of art in 1943 and taking the copy to... the basement, curator Dows Dunham wondered what the unusually life-like bust might look like in modern garb. So the six-foot- tall, 160-pound curator brought in his best suit and fedora and conducted an experiment - dressing the plaster cast. The clothes were a perfect fit –- the prince looked like he was ready for a business trip. The staff was so impressed with how modern the nearly 5,000-year old bust looked that photos were taken and appeared in the Museum Bulletin in 1943.

After his Vogue moment, the suit was removed and the copy of Ankh-haf remains unclothed and in storage.
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— at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.