Marilyn Monroe in Liechtenstein

The Liechtenstein National Museum is currently presenting the largest collection of Marilyn Monroe artifacts and memorabilia of its kind on loan by collector Ted Stampfer. With 400 pieces from Marilyn Monroe’s personal estate, the exhibit offers a fascinating view into the former life of the iconic American actress. Although Monroe is commonly remembered for her beauty, with the exhibit's name "Marilyn - Die Starke Monroe" (Marilyn - The Strong Monroe) it offers a unique view into the woman she truly was. It was not just her style, but also her strength and perseverance that led to her success in pioneering a new standard for American women in the 1950s. As visible in the collection, it was not the outfits that made the girl, but rather the girl who made the outfits. She was able to change the US’ perspective of the female body and the role of women in society.

Born in Los Angeles in 1926, Marilyn Monroe, originally named Norma Jean Mortenson, was placed in an orphanage where she ended up spending the first eleven years of her life. Years later, after being photographed in an Army magazine, Monroe was offered a modeling deal, which led the way to her first movie contract. Known for being one of America’s most iconic movie stars, Marilyn Monroe quickly rose to fame for her timeless fashion sense and radiant sex appeal. But as the owner of the private collection, Ted Stampfer, would like you to know, Marilyn was “not only a talented actress, but someone who changed history with her unique nature and incomparable presence.” Through her photographs, films, and public appearances, Monroe was constantly setting new standards for women. Considering the strict social norms in the 1950s, her outward self-confidence led the way for other women to more freely express themselves. Monroe did not only challenge social norms, she changed them. Famous for saying “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it,” she proved to the world that beauty is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.

37 years after her death, Marilyn’s personal items were handed over to the auction houses Christie’s and Julien’s. Through the auctions the owner of the pieces, Ted Stampfer, has collected private items from her childhood - her favorite clothing, movie costumes, luggage, letters, receipts and more. Today, Stampfer owns the largest assortment of its kind. Over the years, Stampfer has lent select pieces from his collection to museums worldwide, but this current exhibit is the largest he has publicly shared.

The collection is divided into five sections: clothing & accessories, original vintage photographs, documents & film props, and memorabilia from fans. Each item represents an aspect from a different point in Monroe’s life. A truly remarkable collection, for it is rare to come across such an intricate and detailed exhibit of one’s life, let alone, Marilyn Monroe's. The exhibit is on view from March 26-November 1, 2015. Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm, Wednesdays 10:00am-8:00pm, Mondays closed.

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