ANGOLA — Karen DePauw of Local History Services at the Indiana Historical Society, a textile and fashion archivist, will present a workshop on “Caring for Historical Items in Your Home” at the Steuben County Historical Society Museum, 313 E. Maumee St. at 7 p.m Thursday.
Admission is free, but donations to the Indiana Historical Society, sponsor of the event, are welcome.
Hope Wilson of the Historical Society said they chose this talk and workshop because they had some women’s and children’s outfits and in some cases could not identify the historical period. In other cases, they could tell when a garment was made by looking at the fabric and the clothing model.
“Things got tight in the 1920s,” Wilson said.
Wilson also said they have a lot of military uniforms at the Cyrus and Jenny Cline House, and there were clothes in the attic that weren’t sorted yet.
Wilson also said they used to have clothes belonging to people who originally lived in the building, the Cline family, but they had been lost.
“A lot of it was silk, and silk just dissolves after a while,” Wilson said.
She said what has survived over time is an old, beaded wedding dress made in Paris for, as Wilson put it, “someone with a connection to Angola”. Wilson said the museum hoped DePauw’s lecture would help preserve the dress.
The wedding dress was made for Florence Emerson and Laurence Newnam’s wedding which took place in 1883. In addition to the dress, the museum also has many underwear made from delicate materials that need to be preserved and may be exhibited in the future.
On the afternoon before the workshop, Trine drama students will have the opportunity to participate in a discussion with DePauw and learn about the care of rare vintage clothing. Students will also be able to help hold the presentation attire in the evening presentation.
“That would depend on the students,” Wilson said.
She said Lou Ann Homan, counselor for Trine University’s acting department, would make that option available to her students.
De Pauw is an expert in historical costumes and textile conservation. She is the author of two books on clothing protection.
She’ll draw on Cline’s collection of vintage clothing to illustrate her arguments, and she’ll also bring some Indianapolis items with her. Cline House officials hope this workshop will help them organize more exhibits of the old clothes they have.
“We were hoping to show more than what we’re doing now,” Wilson said.