We recently brought up Colleen Callahan and Newbie Richardson from Costume and Textile Specialists in Virginia to take a look at the Fountainhead antique clothing collection and evaluate our exhibits. They spent two days assessing the collection and teaching us how to care for, repair and store the clothing to maintain its condition. We also learned how to carve, stuff and dress mannequins to better exhibit the “silhouettes” of the time periods on display.
We next hosted a day-long workshop for museum staff and anyone interested in costume and textile maintenance and exhibition. We had 16 attendees, along with some museum visitors who sat in for a while. We all were enthralled for 7.5 hours as Newbie and Colleen discussed topics ranging from philosophy of textile and costume conservation in museums, wet and dry cleaning techniques, stabilization through hand-sewing, storage options and materials, forms, mannequins and mounting of exhibits. We ended with a demonstration of how to dress a form with a 19th Century garment from the Fountainhead collection. Our exhibit now contains a one-of-a-kind gown from the 1880s sporting colorful birds that are actually woven into the fabric of the skirt. The dress looks lifelike on the mannequin.
We now have over 50 vintage outfits on display inside the museum and hope you will come see them soon.
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