Museums are Fashionable too!

Judging from the success and popularity of the “Hollywood Costume” exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts last fall (curated by the Victoria & Albert Museum in England), the history of costume and fashion is still a big draw for museum visitors. The Lynchburg Museum is fortunate to have a substantial amount of textiles from all eras in our collection, some which are currently on display. Military uniforms from World War One through the Korean War may be seen in the Piedmont Pride Gallery while items made or purchased in Lynchburg may be seen in the Lynchburg Life Gallery and on the Main Stage.

The Museum recently put this 1930s evening gown of Miriam Moss Jones on display in the Lynchburg Life Gallery.

1923 Wedding Dress of Miriam Jones

Beadwork on the drop waist

While some clothing items must simply wait their turn to have the spotlight, there are still several pieces which cannot be displayed due to their fragile condition. Beaded items must be handled with extreme care.

This month’s Awesome Artifact blog is focusing on items donated to the museum by Mrs. John Williams Jones (nee Miriam Diuguid Moss). Mrs. Jones was born on July 15, 1897 and would have been coming of age during the 1920s. She was married in June of 1923 and the Museum has her cream silk and crepe-de-chine wedding dress and the navy blue chiffon ensemble known as the “going away” dress, among other items of hers, in our collection.

More glass beadwork on the bodice of the bridal dress

The navy blue "going away" dress is what the bride would put on after the ceremony and reception, then get into the “Just Married” vehicle for the honeymoon.

The "going away" dress without the attachable sleeves

The 1920s were the era of the flapper dress; flapper being a slang term for a young woman “testing out her wings” or “leaving the nest.” The dresses often had a low waistline and could be sleeveless or above the knee. Mrs. Jones’s dress is long and has the optional long sleeve component she could wear, perhaps something more modest for a new bride. The beadwork on the dress is exceptional, as on the beaded purse and the small cloche style hat.

Matching cloche hat and handbag for the bride's fashionable "going away" look