Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trim, Stuff, Wrap, Steam

By: Chris Rossi, Associate Curator of Exhibitions
I'm not sure what it is like in other work places, but I am always amazed at the number of hidden talents my coworkers seem to possess. Empire Waists, Bustles and Lace: A Century of New York Fashion, our soon-to-open fashion exhibition, has brought to the surface the previously untapped skills of my colleagues

I wasn't too surprised when Michelle Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions, revealed herself to be adept at fashioning petticoats out of tulle and wire. And I was pleased when Steve Loughman, our new Preparator didn't even bat an eye at my request for him to trim the base of one of our manikins and then give it hips and a bigger bottom.
What did take me by surprise was the ability of Ginny Reynolds and Brooke Steinhauser, our Cooperstown Graduate Program volunteers, to adeptly stuff 3 corsets into just the right shapes. Now we have 3 curvaceous corsets to demonstrate the different female silhouettes of the 19th century. I am sure this skill can be worked into their resumes ... somehow.
That should have prepared me for John Hart, our Assistant Curator of Collections, demonstrating that he knew exactly how to wrap our civil war general's sash and sword to military perfection. Where did he learn to do that?!
To top it all off Curator Erin Crissman from our sister museum, The Farmers' Museum just happened to mention that she had, once upon a time, spent a long summer vacuuming and steaming costumes. A week later she was hard at it in the gallery, giving tutorials on how to vacuum a costume without sucking up buttons and lace. Then it was on to steaming out the wrinkles from dresses that had spent the last 100 years in someone’s attic and then neatly tucked away in our storage facility.
The results of this sudden revelation of amazing and somewhat obscure talents-a delightful exhibit well trimmed, stuffed, wrapped and steamed-ready for our April 1 opening date. My thanks to my talented colleagues for making it happen!

1 comment:

Michele said...

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek. A gorgeous show, presented beautifully. Great job!

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