Fashion has a lot of uses. It can be practical, it can be pretty, it can be silly and it can also tell us a lot about history.
From designs to textiles, clothes and how we wear them can reflect the state of the world. That reflection will be clear in the new exhibit at the Fayetteville History Museum.
“Bits and Baubles: Curated Fashion Items from our Collection” opened last week. The exhibit looks at a variety of women’s clothing and accessory items from the museum’s collection. Each item on display has a connection to women’s fashion. Museum staff have had a shopping trip of sorts through the museum’s stored collection but have also brought in a few personal pieces from their own pasts.
“The museum has a distinct collection of things that aren’t on display and sometimes come out on rotation. And so we’ve been able to peek back behind the closed doors and go through and pick out some things that have been on display that have some unique stories to tell. And so we thought that would be fun,” Heidi Bleazey, the historic and natural resources manager for the Fayetteville History Museum, said.
The exhibit title refers to “bits” as in tidbits of local fashion history, customs of the past and local textile mill history. The “baubles” will be on display in the main entrance gallery of the museum, as well.
Bleazey says that the exhibit is not a comprehensive look at fashion, it does have a few standouts for local impacts of fashion.
“We have some information on probably one of the most famous stories here in Fayetteville, the Capitol Department Store, or taking it way back to Colonial North Carolina and talking about the Edenton Tea Party,” Bleazey told Up & Coming Weekly. “Not only did the women of Edenton boycott tea, but they boycotted imported fabrics which must have wreaked havoc on their wardrobe — their patriotic statement of support for the colonies against the taxes imposed by the British,” she said.
There will also be information about the impact that African Americans had on the local fashion world of Fayetteville as well as Massey Hill and the textile factories.
Another aspect of the historical exhibit is that it can be interactive. If people have their own historical fashion items hidden in an attic or closet somewhere, they are encouraged to add it to the museum’s collection and put on display.
The exhibit is located in the main museum gallery and is free to the public. The Fayetteville History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Fayetteville History Museum is located at 325 Franklin Street in downtown Fayetteville.
The museum is part of the Historic and Natural Resources of Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation. For more information, visit www.fcpr.us/historymuseum or call 910-433-1457.