Friday, August 29, 2014

A peek at the exhibit

Work continues on Mentioning the Unmentionables!  The exhibit opens ONE WEEK from today with a free opening reception from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.

Here are a few in-progress pictures:

Title, credit, and intro panels




All items in this case courtesy of Mary Doering



Monday, August 25, 2014

Join us for a "Taste of Our Town " Progressive Dinner!

Our fall fundraiser is

Join us for a fun progressive dinner through the Street of Shops!

New additions this year include "firehouse chili" at the Fire Station and fruit at the Doctor's Office.  Plus lots more food and "street fair" entertainment.  Reservations can be made by calling 330-455-7043.

Here are some photos from our last "Taste of Our Town" event:

Friday, August 22, 2014

An empty gallery is a blank canvas

The Keller Gallery is EMPTY and all set up for the installation of Mentioning the Unmentionables next week!

This week we took down Peanuts...Naturally, packed it up, patched and painted the walls, cleaned the floor, and set up the cases/platforms/walls in their new spots.  At the beginning of next week we are having additional track lighting installed to light up dark areas in the gallery that have always been a problem.  Then installation will really begin!

We hope to see you at the opening on Friday September 5 from 6:00 to 7:30PM.  The gallery will be full of pretty dresses and undergarments from 1810 to 1970!

Here are some exclusive "behind-the-scenes" photos of what the gallery looks like right now!  There is minimal lighting, which makes it tough to get good photos, but you'll get the idea:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Underwear exhibit opening soon!

Peanuts...Naturally was packed in its crates this morning!  Which means.....Mentioning the Unmentionables is NEXT!

The dress forms are all dressed, ready and waiting.  Panels have been printed.  Object labels are almost finished.  There are a few things to work out, such as selecting petticoats for the "clothesline" display and which of Ida McKinley's underwear will be selected for the exhibit.  But the To Do List is actually pretty short, considering the gigantic scope of this project.

The opening is Friday September 5 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.  I hope to see you there!  It's FREE and open to the public.

I will post a few shots of the installation in progress over the next two weeks.  I'm really excited about this one.  It's going to be FUN.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ida McKinley dress project update

Work is underway on two more dresses in the Ida McKinley Dress Project!  Our textile conservator sent me these photos this morning of Dress #83.70.14:

This photo was taken during the reactivation of the adhesive support. Our conservator’s hands are aligning the separated edges of the splits and reactivating the adhesive with a heated spatula (a little heat from the fingers helps "tack" the edges before they are secured for keeps with the heated spatula).
Our textile conservator’s assistant carrying out humidification and pressing treatment from the interior of the skirt using a heated spatula and ultrasonic humidifier. This process will prepare the skirt for closing the slits with adhesive and stitched treatment.
This is the lower edge of the bodice, which has been partially dismantled to gain access to the pleats, which were split along their entire length. But the slits are closed, here, because an adhesive support on the back is holding them together. The edge looks pointed because when the pleats are reassembled it smoothes out back to the bodice as it was worn.
This is a seam of the skirt which has been humidified and is under some glass weights to help correct the creases. The seams are thicker and the creases are very strong with a strong "memory," which means they want to go back to being creased. So the conservators relaxed the creases with the humidifier and left them overnight. You can see the cream selvedges along the seam. Some very frugal cutter at Rock and Torpey used every square inch of the printed fabric by using the unprinted selvedges in the seam allowance.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Underwear sneak peek!

We are making excellent progress on Mentioning the Unmentionables, our exhibition about women's underwear that opens in the Keller Gallery on Friday September 5!

This girdle and strapless/low back bra are from the 1950s.  The garters are hidden up underneath the legs of the girdle, so we're planning to hike one leg up to show the hooks.
Yesterday we finished dressing the last of the dress forms with underwear and nightgowns from our collection and the many pieces that have been donated and loaned from the community.  Volunteer Kathy Fleeher has been a huge help working with Fosshape, an amazing fabric that stiffens with heat that we are using to display some corsets inside cases.  It is our first time experimenting with this material and we are amazed at what it can do!

We are waiting for some additional items to arrive from a private collector we have been working with in the Washington, DC area.  She has some interesting artifacts that fill some holes in what we would like to show in the exhibit, including a cage bustle from the 1880s and along line corset from the 1910s.

The main section of the exhibit will be a fashion timeline.  We are planning to show one dress in the typical style from the 1810s to the 1970s (excluding the 1820s, 1840s, and 1850s due to gallery space restrictions and availability of these decades).  Alongside it we will show the undergarments women wore to achieve the ideal look. Last month Kathy and I picked a dress from each decade from our collection and dressed the mannequins for that.  They are patiently awaiting their turn in the spotlight up in storage!

There will also be special sections exploring hosiery, boudoir caps, bed jackets, and nightgowns/lingerie. 

Right now I am working on writing the exhibition panels for each decade/era, and the object labels.  Through our Capital & Replacement campaign last fall, I was able to order several more dress forms to display even more undergarments.  Yesterday I placed an order for addition legs, torsos, and upper body forms to display other pieces in cases.

It's all coming together quite nicely!

Here are a few more photos of what it looks like behind-the-scenes when you're working on an underwear exhibit:

Visible in the front of this photo are a blue nightgown from the 1970s, a long chemise and corset from the 1890s, and a pink chemise from the 1910s which will be displayed underneath the long line corset we are borrowing from a private collector.  On the far right you can see the side of a white nightgown from 1895.

The hoop is from the 1860s and the floral dress behind it is from the 1960s. What a difference a century makes!

Visible in this photo is a peach nightgown from the 1930s, a pale yellow chemise and drawers set from the 1920s, and two "all-in-one" girdles from the 1950s/60s -- one white and one black -- that include garters for hosiery on the bottom.
 Again, special thanks to our sponsor!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New exterior signs

 Vistors to our grounds will find some new signage next time they stop by!

This sign is located at our entrance, at the bottom of the "grassy basin" formerly known as the Long Water:

We wanted people who come to the grounds to see what a fabulous facility we have INSIDE our building!  These photos show off everything we have to offer.

These are the two new signs on the Monument Plaza:

These signs explain a lot more about the Monument itself, including some rare construction photos from our library and an explanation of some of the symbols the artchitect incorporated into the design.

Next time you're on the grounds, check out the new signs and let us know what you think!