Dressed for the Occasion

Women’s clothing from the 1870s to the 1930s -- what was visible and some layers that were not usually visible -- is the subject of this exhibit.

“Dressed for the Occasion” focuses on clothing for “everyday” as well as special occasions like weddings, funerals, and baptisms.

“The idea for this exhibit began as an underwear exhibit,” said Leah Tookey, the Museum’s History Curator. “As we searched our collection, and the collections of some of our sister museums in southern New Mexico, we found many beautiful dresses and artifacts that tell interesting stories about women’s lives during the late 19th and early 20th century. With all of these discoveries, the exhibit blossomed into this wonderful assemblage.”

This exhibit features several vignettes, including “Underthings,” which has a lobster tail bustle, corset, pantaloons, camisole, petticoat and other items. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” shows stunning dresses and historic photographs.

“A Child’s World” features a small bedroom displaying christening gowns and shoes, as well as period toys and furniture. Another vignette shows the many items she might have carried in her purse. The exhibit also includes an early 20th century graduation dress, stunning beaded Flappers dresses, and more understated clothing from the Great Depression.

Interactive components include one that shows the different layers that women wore, and a paper doll area for children.

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