The remarkable story of an extraordinary fashion show. Covering 50 years of beauty, style, and empowerment, with 40 stunning outfits by Christian Dior, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, and many more. Tickets on sale now!

the Exhibition

The exhibition, located in East Building's Meymandi Exhibition Gallery, explores the 50-year history of the Ebony Fashion Fair (1958–2009), an unparalleled charity fashion show event that redefined the concepts of beauty, style, and empowerment for African Americans. A spectacle of glamour and performance, the traveling fashion show grew out of the pages of Ebony magazine (first published in 1945). Similar to the publication, the fashion event provided transformative images of African Americans as beautiful and successful. Far more than a display of fabulous clothes, the show offered black women a vision of what they could wear and, ultimately, who they could be. Featuring 40 stunning ensembles (gowns, coats, suits), the exhibition includes works by designers such as Stephen Burrows, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Patrick Kelly, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, Bob Mackie, Alexander McQueen, b. Michael, Missoni, Jean Patou, and Vivienne Westwood.

Eunice Johnson at work, 1970, Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC
Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair was developed by the Chicago History Museum in cooperation with Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, presented by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

In Raleigh this exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel. 

Exhibition events have been developed in partnership with The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission.
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North Carolina Museum of Art

2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607-6494
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  • Hours
  • Tuesday–Thursday 10 am–5 pm
  • Friday 10 am–9 pm
  • Saturday–Sunday 10 am–5 pm
  • Monday Closed
Tickets and Policies Tours In-Gallery Experiences Parking Accommodations Shopping and Dining Press


$15 Adults

$12 Seniors (65+), military, groups of 10+, college students with current ID
$9 Youth 7−18
Free: Members (first visit), children 6 and under, college students on Fridays 5−9 pm (with current ID)


Photography for personal use is permitted in the Inspiring Beauty exhibition; however, tripods and video cameras are prohibited. Share your photos on social media with the hashtag #NCMAebony. Photography and filming for commercial purposes require approval and may be subject to fees. (See our Commercial Photography and Filming Policy for details.)

Sketching is not permitted in the exhibition.


Guided tours are free on the dates below, but exhibition tickets are required. Meet your docent on Level B, outside the entrance to the exhibition.

Friday, November 10, 6 pm and 7 pm

Saturday, November 11, 11:30 pm and 1:30 pm

Sunday, November 12, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm

Friday, December 8, 6 pm and 7 pm

Saturday, December 9, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm

Sunday, December 10, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm

Tours for school and youth groups are available Tuesdays–Sundays at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, and other times as available. Free tour and admission for K–college students in groups of 10–60. Adult chaperons receive one free ticket for every 10 students; additional chaperons may purchase tickets at the discounted group rate. Request at least four weeks in advance. Request a school or youth group tour. 

Private guided tours for adults are available Tuesdays–Sundays. Tours are $50 plus tax for each group of up 10 people. Request at least four weeks in advance. Request a tour. 

Designer Studio

Free with exhibition ticket

On select dates with admission to Inspiring Beauty, you gain behind-the-scenes access to designers-in-residence Katherine Diuguid and Precious Lovell as they create haute couture in the gallery. Learn about the design process and garment construction.

October 28 and 29

November 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19

December 2 and 3

January 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21

10:30 am–1 pm and 2–5 pm

Virtual Fitting Room

At the exhibition exit, virtually try on some of the ensembles from the exhibition. Choose from six outfits! Take a selfie and share it using the hashtag #NCMAebony.


Visitor parking is free and available in the Blue Ridge lot, on the right after entering the Museum drive. Overflow parking is behind West Building, on the left after entering the Museum drive.

Visitor drop-off is located between West and East buildings and can be reached by turning left after entering the Museum drive and following the signs.


Homewood Suites, Raleigh Crabtree Valley (2.8 miles from NCMA)
Marriott Fairfield Inn & SuitesCourtyard, or Residence Inn, Raleigh Crabtree Valley (3.2 miles from NCMA)
Hyatt Place Raleigh West (3.7 miles from NCMA)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (5 miles from NCMA)

Arrange group hotel accommodations or visits to other attractions in the Raleigh area through the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.


The Exhibition Store is open during exhibition hours and located at the exit of the exhibition. Also visit the main Museum Store in West Building for fashion items, art books, beautiful artist-crafted jewelry, and educational toys, books, art kits, and games. There are items for every budget and all occasions.


The Museum offers two dining options: Iris, a full-service restaurant, and Sip, a casual coffee bar, both in West Building.

Iris, West Building
Iris is a sophisticated, full-service restaurant featuring contemporary American cuisine with regional and international flavors in a distinctly modern setting. Specializing in seasonal fare using many locally sourced ingredients, the Museum restaurant, led by chef Andy Hicks, features culinary works of art that showcase a complex culture of flavors. View the menu here.

Reservations for Iris are accepted and encouraged. Call (919) 664-6838.

11:30 am–2 pm

Iris After Dark
Friday 5:30–8 pm (last seating 8:30 pm)

Sunday 10:30 am–2:30 pm

Closed Mondays

Sip, West Building
Stop by our coffee bar for a quick pick-me-up. Featuring local Joe Van Gogh coffee, espresso-based drinks, tea, and pastries, Sip is next to the main Museum Store.

Tuesday–Sunday 10 am–4:30 pm
Closed Mondays


Homewood Suites, Raleigh Crabtree Valley (2.8 miles from NCMA)
Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites, Courtyard, or Residence Inn, Raleigh Crabtree Valley (3.2 miles from NCMA)
Hyatt Place Raleigh West (3.7 miles from NCMA)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (5 miles from NCMA)

Arrange group hotel accommodations or visits to other attractions in the Raleigh area through the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.


The NCMA communications team is happy to work with members of the press to coordinate media visits, arrange interviews and photo shoots, and provide high-res images.

If you would like to schedule a visit or photo shoot, set up an interview with a curator, or request high-res images from the exhibition, please email or call Kat Harding, public relations manager, at (919) 664-6795. You may also download the press release on the exhibition here.

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Become a Member

Join today and enhance your experience of all special exhibitions and our world-class collection with these exclusive benefits.


  • Free admission for all special ticketed exhibitions (plus 50% off any subsequent visits)
  • Exclusive Member Mondays during select ticketed exhibitions
  • Invitations to exhibition openings and other celebrations
  • Discount on summer concerts in the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park
  • Discount on NCMA Cinema tickets
  • Free admission to summer movies
  • 10% off purchases in the Museum Store
  • 10% off member's meals in Iris restaurant
  • FREE subscription to Preview calendar, a members-only publication
  • Members e-newsletter
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