New displays, Women’s History and Spring Cleaning

by Sharon Shore, Costume Committee Chair

Our latest costume display is an homage to women’s history in the West represented by many diverse items.

Lillian Roberts CulverOne special display included photos and historic references to a little known “woman behind the man.” Lillian Roberts Culver, an actress who married our city founder, Harry Culver in 1916.

Also included in the presentation are personal keepsakes from a locally prominent 19th Century lady represented by a decorative hair comb made of horn and faceted jet stones – and an authentic cattle branding iron that she applied for personally (not as a “wife” of) certified by the state for her exclusive use in 1892! [This is on loan from the Carlos Lugo Collection.] Certainly a woman well ahead of her time, be sure to stop by and see who this formidable woman was!

Women’s History Takes Stage

From our extensive film history costume archive is a corset work by actress Gwen Verdon, a former resident of Culver City, in the MGM musical, The Merry Widow, and a silk scarf from the personal wardrobe of Greta Garbo donated by Historical Society member Maxine Mytar.

A red and white striped dress worn by Julie London as Joan Blake in 'Saddle the Wind'Finally, with a dazzling nod to the fictional ‘Wild West,’ our center stage mannequin is dressed in a red and white striped dress worn by Julie London as Joan Blake in Saddle the Wind, and MGM film produced in 1958. This 1880s-style dress, features a bustle with a bouffant red bow at the back and tightly fitted waist.

As part of our Spring cleaning effort at the ARC, we have successfully cleaned the original custom-sized case and rearranged the set of seven miniature Gone With the Wind costumed figures. Look for them now at top level of display/bookcases in the museum.

Your Costume care Tip For Spring-cleaning

Your Costume care Tip For Spring-cleaningAs you peruse and cull through your collection of family heirlooms, vintage clothing and accessory keepsakes during this year’s Spring cleaning, be sure to remove those clear plastic dry cleaning bags! They are provided as a courtesy by dry cleaners for short term storage and all us to keep the item clean and dry while traveling from the car to the house.

However, they are not intended for long term storage. If left in contact with clothing and accessories for long periods of time, the plastic changes chemically and can cause irreversible discoloration and even degradation to some textile fibers such as silk and wool.

Cloth garment bags and even improvised clean sheets as covers are a safer bet for long term textile storage.

More tips to come in future columns.

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