Choosing pieces for the Civil War exhibit

I am currently deeply engrossed in one of the most exciting aspects of being a curator: selecting pieces for an exhibit. My next exhibit, “On the Homefront: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life,” opens in September and I am currently reviewing the pieces in our collection that date to the 1860s. At this point I am trying to assess what pieces we have available and then I will finalize the themes and organization once I see where the strengths of the materials lie. In addition to the pieces in our own collection, we will be borrowing from the Western Reserve Historical Society’s wonderful collection of costumes and accessories.

Earlier this week I spent a few hours in storage reviewing our children’s costumes from the 1860s. Historic children clothing is absolutely adorable and I am charmed every time I go through our collection. I went through the clothing simply to gain a sense of what we have. I took digital pictures of all of the pieces from the period so I could go back and review them at my desk at my leisure. I am attaching a few of these pictures, which were taken simply  for this purpose. Later in the summer we will begin dressing the garments on mannequins and dress forms and, at that time, we will take publication-quality photographs.

In several of these pieces, the linings and the details are the most interesting parts. Unfortunately when the exhibit is up, these aspects will be difficult or impossible for visitors to see.

Sara Hume, Curator


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