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BEST WORLDWIDE WARDROBE Phoenix 2003 - West Valley Art Museum's Ethnic Dress Collection

Talk about fashion-conscious. Home to a 972-piece Ethnic Dress Collection, the West Valley Art Museum is the best-dressed museum in the Southwest. Comprising costumes, textiles and ethnographic artworks from more than 75 countries, "The Golden Thread" collection got its start in 1985, when Sun City resident Dorothy Knop donated 356 pieces. (All are illustrated in her book Collections and Recollections: A Search for World Legacies of Ethnic Dress, available in the museum store.) Displayed items rotate periodically; currently, the focus falls on Asia, Africa and Latin America.

If fashion isn't your passion, the museum -- which originated as a satellite of the Phoenix Art Museum -- is an arts destination in its own right, with nearly 3,000 works in all manner of media.

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