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Museum Wedding Dresses on Display

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 13, 2010


An exhibit of antique wedding dresses from the Irma Bowen Textile Collection at the UNH Museum will be on display at the annual WERZ bridal show at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 17, 2010.

Bowen taught textile classes, including in the history of fashion and dressmaking techniques, at UNH from 1920 to 1947. During that time, she collected more than 600 samples of women’s and children’s clothing from the 1700s through the early 20th century.

Most of the items were donated by members of the community. Among them were the wedding dresses that will be on display at the bridal show. They include a wool designer gown covered with hand stitched lace and netting from the house of Maison Rouff in Paris and a burgundy long sleeve silk taffeta. Both dresses are circa 1890.

In addition to the Bowen garments, several other dresses on loan to the museum will be displayed, including a navy blue hooped brocade borrowed from the John Paul Jones House in Portsmouth.

Also on display will be an orange beaded dress and matching hat from the flapper era, worn at the wedding of the grandmother of a member of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, who helped put the UNH exhibit together.

“The exhibit helps to show the history of wedding dresses. I think people will be surprised to find that they weren’t always long and white,” says UNH Museum curator Dale Valena.

The bridal show takes place Jan. 17, 2010, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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