From our Summer 2014 newsletter:
The BCHS Costume Collection Gets Some Needed Attention
Prior to their graduation in May, two Miami University interns have been moving boxes, struggling with dress forms, stressing over spreadsheets and making fabulous costume discoveries. Mallory Hellenthal, an Art and Architectural History major and Michelle McVicker, an Individualized Studies student served as interns working with the extensive BCHS costume collection spring semester.
Mallory focused her attention on organization of the clothing and textiles collection, emphasizing what came to be known as the “attic collection”. Multiple boxes that had been stored in the attic were brought downstairs and the artifacts in the boxes cataloged. Mallory developed a spreadsheet that defines each item, including a general description, approximate date, condition, donor, wearer and several other descriptors. She recently recorded her 1,200th item, with many more artifacts to be
Michelle spent her time on exhibits, interpreting the Butler County Theaters exhibition and three Benninghofen House bedrooms with clothing and accessories. Using borrowed dress forms, Michelle located the appropriate artifacts from the BCHS collection and dressed the forms, a difficult task given the custom clothing of the 19th century! Clothing from the 1880s, 1910s and 1920s is displayed in the bedrooms. Mallory provided valuable advice based on her prior exhibition experience. Michelle wrote text panels with appropriate images (photos or fashion plates) to put the artifacts in historical context for visitors.
Mallory will continue to volunteer with the costume collection at BCHS this summer and Michelle will serve as a costume intern at the Chicago Institute for the Arts. Sara Butler, BCHS Board member, mentored Mallory and Michelle during their internships.
Stop by the historical society soon to see the results of their hard work and some marvelous costume artifacts from the BCHS collection!