Back in fashion

Grand Encampment Museum holds ‘high tea’ to preserve vintage textiles


Photo courtesy Grand Encampment Museum

Part of the Grand Encampment Museum's textile collection showcasing historical fashion.

The Grand Encampment Museum (GEM) is working on a Textile Preservation project that was initiated by Christy Smith, GEM director, and Lynda Johnson, GEM staff member. The goal of the project, which was started in spring 2015, is to inventory all of the textiles within the museum's collection, which includes military uniforms, dresses, suits, hats, scarves, quilts and other items dating from 1860s through the 1920s, according to a press release.

Taking an inventory of the collection helps the museum understand storage needs, and proper preservation is a major aspect of the project as well. GEM aims to store the textiles in archival storing containers, the release said. The museum has a temperature controlled storage room that allows for the storing of textile items within these special containers.

The project was kicked off last summer with a grant from the Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums. With this funding, some containers and archive boxes were ordered, but the large undertaking required more than the initial grant could provide. Consequently, The Greenwood Fund of the Denver Foundation, a fund for museum collection care, provided additional money needed to order more boxes for archives as well as dress and suit forms to display more of the textiles around the museum, the release added.

The press release continued that the GEM has a mission to educate all generations and they hope to use the project to educate the community and visitors about the preservation and the material culture of Encampment at the turn of the century.

The release added that Lynda Johnson has a master's degree in clothing and textiles with an emphasis on historical clothing, which provides the project with unique insight about the technique and fashion of clothing at the turn of the century.

There will be a Mother's Day Tea at the Grand Encampment Opera House on May 7. Various items from the collection will be on display with opportunities to learn about Victorian-style clothes that Encampment residents wore during its boom days. Dresses, hats, scarves and suits will be on display and many will be modeled by GEM board members, staff and volunteers. Tea will be provided by The Red Wagon and sweets will be served. About 20 Victorian-style dresses from 1840 until 1901 will be showcased as a sample of the textile collection. There will be an entry fee of $10 and all proceeds will benefit the project. Call 307-327-5308 with any questions about the event or the project.


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