New Exhibition of 1910s Fashions Opens September 8th!

Photo by Stephen Sartori

The Museum has been buzzing with activity lately, getting ready for the opening of our fall exhibition, “Styling an American Family: The 1910s at Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Farms.” With the exhibition opening in a little over two weeks, the staff is putting in long hours preparing for the installation, our docents are hard at work training to give special interest, fashion-focused tours, and soon the Museum Shop will be filled with an assortment of new merchandise with a fashion twist.  The exhibition, which will focus on the fashions of upper middle class Americans in the 1910s, opens Saturday, September 8th in the Log House and is on view through January 6th.  The night of the opening promises to be a fashionable occasion as well.  The Museum will host an outdoor tented reception and lecture by exhibition curator, Jeffrey Mayer.

Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Photo & Imaging Center

With Styling an American Family we are giving the Log House a temporary make-over; restoring the human form into a historic home.  And while we will always be “all Stickley all the time,” we are taking this opportunity to broaden our scope a bit and to spend a little more time with the rest of the Stickley family, particularly the Stickley women.  First, by placing the popular fashions of the Progressive Era amid Gustav Stickley’s furnishings, we may better understand this key period in American design history.  Styling an American Family will also address how fashion was so often dictated by stringent social conventions and verbose rules of etiquette and comportment, and concurrently, how women of this era were beginning to seek lives of less-restriction and more meaning, beginning, perhaps, with their clothes.

Photo by Stephen Sartori

The exhibition features fashions from Syracuse University’s Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, which was selected because it boasts an unusually large collection of garments and accessories from 1910 – 1915, and the majority of the pieces were purchased, made, or worn in and around the Syracuse, N.Y. area, the location from which the Stickley family moved to Morris Plains in 1911.  The exhibition will feature outfits arranged in eight environmental vignettes styled as moments frozen in time, with such themes as “Motoring,” “Music,” “Entertainment at Home” and “After the Party.”

Exhibition curator Jeffrey Mayer, an associate professor and program coordinator of fashion design at SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, selected the garments in Styling an American Family from the fashion design program’s Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, which he also curates.  The collection is comprised of more than 1,500 women’s garments and accessories from 1820 to the present.  The focus of the collection is women’s high fashion, and it includes examples of garments that are indicative of each era, are by well-known designers or were worn by notable women.

“No clothing belonging to the Stickley family from this era seems to exist, nor do many reference photos of the family as a whole or in domestic settings within the farm, so therefore all details of the fashionable life at Craftsman Farms must be drawn from the few glimpses given in the extant photos and descriptions of everyday life as found in journal entries and newspaper clippings,” says Mayer, who especially relied on Marion Stickley’s scrapbook. “The styles and types of clothing selected for this exhibition reflect an American family of comfortable means whose father was well known as an architect and internationally recognized as an arts movement leader.”

Whether your interests are in social history, women’s history, fashion history, design history, architectural history, Victoriana or “Downton Abbey,” this exhibition has something for you!  And we hope to see you at the opening!

Styling an American Family is on view Saturday, September 8th through Sunday, January 6, 2013 at the Stickley Museum.

We are now accepting reservations for the opening reception on Saturday, September 8 at 6:00 p.m. that will include a viewing of the exhibition in the Log House, a curator’s lecture by Jeffrey Mayer in the Museum’s education building, and an outdoor tented reception.

Tickets are $12 for non-members and free for Stickley Museum members.

PLEASE NOTE: Advance reservations are required for both members and non-members and can be made online, or by phone at 973-540-0311.  No tickets will be sold at the door.

Become a member today, and your admission to the Exhibition Opening will be free!

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