The Supremes Collection at African American Museum

February 10, 2013 5:37:46 AM PST
In the 1960s and 70s, The Supremes were the stars of Motown and, to this day, they are the most successful American vocal group of all time.

Just in time for Black History Month, the African American History Museum is showcasing the group's style.

The exhibit is called "Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection" and it's all of the sequined and sparkling gowns the legendary group's singers wore throughout their careers.

One dress is dubbed the Queen Mother, and the Supremes wore the pink pearl and rhinestone embellished number to sing a command performance for the Royal Family in Great Britain.

"Coming from the projects and then singing for the Royal Family, that was major," Supreme Mary Wilson said.

Mary Wilson joined the Supremes when she was just 16 years old and, when the group split up, she inherited all of the lavish dresses. For decades, they were boxed up in storage and forgotten.

Wilson says seeing the gowns exhibited in their full glory takes her back to a bygone era.

"I've heard that lots of people who come to the exhibit also have the same feeling. It's like 'oh my God, I remember when I saw them on TV wearing that gown,'" Wilson said.

The exhibit also includes rare footage, historic photos, gold records and album covers and reminders of a time when the civil rights battle was being waged and women were fighting for equal rights in the workplace.

"We've come a long ways and these gowns have come that length of the ways too and it's great because we as the Supremes were out there as frontier women," Wilson said.

The Supremes Collection will be at the African American Museum through the end of June.

For tickets, go to