It’s a history lesson in fashion – Cookeville fashion, that is.
“What We Wear: A Timeline of Cookeville Fashions” continues through April 16 at the Cookeville Museum of History, highlighting select pieces from Tennessee Tech University’s historical costume collection as well as the duke’s own collection. Museum.
“Even though styles change, dressing the human form has always been an important part of our society and it’s very cyclical – there are recognizable elements in fashion today that were popular a long time ago. over 100 years,” said Beth Thompson, director of Cookeville Museums. .
The fashion timeline begins with long-standing hunter’s clothing from the 18th century and continues through contemporary styles.
Hannah Upole, assistant professor of merchandising and design in TTU’s School of Human Ecology, launched the exhibit in collaboration with Thompson and museum exhibit specialist Pam Philpot. She was in the process of cataloging and digitizing the historical costume collection and wanted it to be something everyone in the community could experience.
“I worked with Pam and Beth to locate specific events or time periods that were relevant to Cookeville’s history, then pulled pieces from our historical costume collection that corresponded to those eras,” he said. she declared. “My goal was to create an exhibition that allows visitors to look back at historic moments and create a narrative around the clothes worn at that time – to understand their importance, visualize their meaning, and perhaps even remember when they wore clothes. similar items.”
Visitors to the museum will be able to view a variety of pieces, including handmade 1950s shirt dresses and authentic 1960s Jackie O-style shift dresses. Each garment includes a description of its important elements as well as how which it would have been worn or stylized.
“By taking a few minutes to read about each piece, visitors can get a quick glimpse of why these garments were selected and how they added to Cookeville’s history,” Upole said.
Philpot said she was thrilled to work with Upole to create the exhibit.
“There are lessons to be learned about how factors like politics and economics can influence fashion and vice versa,” she said. “Fashion is everywhere.”
Upole said she hopes the exhibit will bring joy and visitors can see themselves in some of the rooms and reminisce about experiences with friends and family.
“I also hope it helps teach visitors how clothing is linked to history, because clothing is not just a piece of cloth, but a strong narrative about the time period it is linked to,” she said.
TTU’s comprehensive historical costume collection includes over 1,500 donated pieces dating from the mid-1800s to modern times. It is a “working educational collection,” Upole said, that TTU students can borrow for educational purposes, whether revising it to create their own clothes, incorporating it into visual merchandising displays or showcasing them in historic fashion shows. To learn more about the collection, or if you are interested in donating a garment, call TTU’s School of Human Ecology at 931-372-3157.
“What We Wear: A Timeline of Cookeville Fashions” can be viewed at the Cookeville History Museum, located at 40 East Broad Street, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free entry. For more information, call 931-520-5455.