Tonawanda News

Features

July 2, 2012

Historical society exhibit features clothing from bygone era

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

“There’s a lot of research that goes into this,” he said. “For example, you know that you have a mid-1880s outfit because of the very large bustle ... in the 1860s by the large hoop skirts, how the sleeves are draped.”

Streeter said judging the age of a garment by the fabric used is often inconclusive because going back through the years, “it was very common to recut the fabric panels into being more contemporary pieces.”

Even without the complete picture of who wore certain items, Schimminger said, “the importance of the clothing collection is to help us understand how people lived at the time.”

Glenn Luba, director of the City of Tonawanda Library, said he’s excited by the relationship between the library and the historical society and hopes to continue it beyond when the exhibit ends in mid September,

“It’s a complementary relationship,” he said. “People can come in here and instead of just seeing our collection, it gives them another dimension to the library, plus it brings a different kind of atmosphere to the library that wasn’t possible without the art on the wall and the costumes.”

Streeter and Schimminger said they both envision a more extensive exhibit of the historical society’s garment holdings in the future.

“In our longterm plans, we might be able to do a much larger show, pulling out 20 to 25 pieces,” Schimminger said.

Streeter said he hopes to continue his work beyond the summer and sees it as an opportunity to test drive his ideal career.

“My goal is to get to Europe and to study at the schools there and to be a historian or a curator for costume collections, so this is right up my alley,” Streeter said. “That’s one of the really great things that I found at Buffalo State. If you want to do something and you’re really serious about it, you can find access to the tools you need to accomplish that.”

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.

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