Of life and death
We all possess garments that hold a particular significance to us, because they are linked to memories (good or bad!). The dress you wore on that first date, the shirt you wore at that brilliant concert, you name it! But it's even more true when it comes to life's milestones. With its new exhibition; Bath's American Museum in Britain offers visitors the chance to travel back in time in the intimacy of 19th and 20th centuries' families through an amazing collection of garments and textiles.
Entitled "Hatched, Matched, Dispatched - And Patched" the exhibition takes its name from the births, marriages and deaths section traditionally found in newspapers and showcases incredibly well preserved quilts, accessories, costumes and outfits worn at weddings, christenings and funerals some over a century ago. People have always used clothes to make a statement or expose their wealth, and this is particularly true when looking at some of the christenings gowns presented. But it's hard to imagine wearing long black veils to mark a bereavement nowadays.
Looking at all the beautiful and the intricately decorated quilts and costumes passed on from one generation to another, I could not help but think of how badly some of nowadays' cheap outfits from our disposable fashion industry would fare.
Whether like me you consider sewing a button an impossible task, or whether you're lucky enough to be a stitching fairy, the needlework on many of the garments will leave you amazed with admiration while the waist sizes of some of the wedding dresses will leave you gasping for air. However the stories behind many pieces will also make you feel quite emotional. I will avoid any spoilers here, so if you want to find out more, head over to the American Museum!
There is a lot more to see at the museum and I'm planning a second trip there soon to visit the permanent exhibition and see the photography series on Native Americans by Heidi Laughton. Hopefully, it will be another sunny day, so I can make the most of the museum's beautiful grounds and lovely café too!
Thank you to Nicky at Hancock Communications and The American Museum in Great Britain for kindly inviting me to the preview.
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