Sunday, April 6, 2014

Little Finds

I love visiting small museums in little out of the way country towns. There is one particular museum that we have been planning to visit for a few years now. Today we were finally driving past while it was open. It was a wonderful little wattle and daub house from the 1870s that had been converted into a museum. Inside it was a treasure trove of Victorian and Vintage items.

Of particular interest to me was some amazing shell art and hair art.

 Floral Shell Picture
 Floral Picture made from Human Hair

The museum was set up like a house with items relating to each room. In one of the bedrooms there was a large collection of vintage and period garments. Some were in an open wardrobe where you could touch them and others were hanging on the walls and on mannequins. 
This beautiful circa 1850 orange pleated fan front dress was hanging against a lime washed wall on a normal hanger. It is beautifully made and in amazing condition (for now, unfortunately I hate this type of treatment of original garments. They had it labelled incorrectly as an 1887 wedding dress for a particular lady whose name I have forgotten).
 This dress was also labelled as 1887 going away dress for the above 'wedding dress' (It looks Edwardian to me). It was also unfortunately stored in the same manner and is of almost perfect quality. I could not spot any visible damage. It really is a shame. 
The back of the dress. It had a plain panel down the back of the skirt and visible white stitching creating detail down to waist. 
This was a bodice made in the same ridged silk fabric as the dress it was next to, but it is of an earlier design. I was curious as to whether the dress was altered into a later Edwardian design to extend its life? The decoration was a beautify braid with paste stones stitched on. The center panel is a beautiful gold silk brocade.  The collar is a very stiff mandarin collar.
 The cuff detail
 The three garments hanging on the wall. They were really an amazing find and I am glad that I was able to photograph and document them. I just hope that they get preserved better in the future as they really are in amazing condition. Unfortunately, there is a black lace evening cloak next to them which was is a very sad state.


  1. Oh dear, it doesn't sound like they're being very well taken care of at all! I can think of so many conservation problems: light, damage from hanging, damage from visitor's hand oils... And I totally agree that the dating is suspect. Fun that you were able to visit the museum though!


    1. I did try to broach the subject with the ladies there, but they were more interested in complaining about how uncomfortable the clothes would have been and gossiping. When I explained that I make and wear period garments and how I can do all my normal household tasks in them they decided to ignore me and refused to listen when I tried to start by explaining that I believe they are incorrectly dated. They wouldn't even look at me and talked over me on another topic, so my husband suggested I just leave and refer the issue to a friend that has a lot more clout in this area.

  2. I agree with Quinn. I'd be tempted to send them a note.

  3. I fell in love with those clothes... such gorgeous finds and such a shame.