Shippensburg University
Fashion Archives and Museum

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Nineteenth-Century Costume Treasures of the Fashion Archives and Museum
February 18, 2010 — December 10, 2010

Nineteenth-Century Costume Treasures of the Fashion Archives and Museum illustrates the evolution of fashion from 1800 to 1900 and the dramatic changes in silhouette that evolved from decade to decade. The collection features a number of important pieces, most of which have not been previously displayed. The director, Dr. Karin J. Bohleke, gives some tantalizing examples: "Visitors to the gallery will enjoy the wide variety of garments on display. The collection houses a rare cotton work dress of the American Federal period. We have a pristine silk-satin dress from 1815-1820 from Mercersburg, PA, and a wonderful warp-printed 1850s transformation bodice that could be either a day dress or an evening or dinner party dress. The skirt, which was partially disassembled, will be restored to its original appearance. The Fashion Archives also owns the only early 1860s dress I have personally handled that has no shoulder seam." She further adds, "Anyone with an appreciation for the fashions of the nineteenth century will enjoy the beauty of the entire exhibit; anyone with a particular affection for a certain time period will be find that style represented. From Empire waistlines to leg-o'mutton sleeves of the 1890s, it will all be on display." A full-color exhibit catalog complete with detail photos, full-length views and technical notes regarding garment construction is available for purchase.

The exhibit had two opening events: the first was the sneak preview on Thursday, February 18, 2010, which featured an authentic Victorian cream tea served by Judy Larkin, The Tea Lady. The official grand opening, catered with Victorian foods, took place on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

Nineteenth-Century Costume Treasures of the Fashion Archives and Museum was a celebration not only of nineteenth-century fashion, but it also marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Fashion Archives and Museum.

Silk brocade dress, 1837-1839. (S2004-01-022 Thompson)