Followers of historic wedding fashion would likely agree that bridal fashion doesn’t often go out of style. And due to its popularity, the summer exhibit “Bridal Fashions Through the Decades: 1880 – 1960s” at the University of Akron’s Hower House, has been extended through Saturday, Oct. 13.
“The idea of the exhibit began last holiday season; one of the 1940s gowns was on display so it seemed to begin at that point,” said Curator Linda Bussey. “We had some informal discussion of the possibilities, relevant pieces within our Hower House collection, and it took off from there.”
After seeing how well the exhibit was received, Bussey and her crew decided to extend its run.
“The motivation for any summer exhibit is to attract visitors; we try not to be too ‘trendy’ but often a topic presents itself, seems timely, and we go from there especially in light of the Royal Wedding in May, that piqued the interest of our visitors and helped our traffic a bit.We looked at old wedding photos to get a sense of what we should show with each decade of gowns; trends in flowers were as distinctive as the gowns and other accessories.”
The exhibit, available to visitors Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. at the Hower House, located 60 Fir Hill was co-curated by Betty Jo Scurei and Caitlyn Conley. They say the exhibit’s was far from smooth sailing, one of the challenges being the collection itself.
“The main obstacle we faced was having to wait to see what people were willing to loan us; we have some of our own collection pieces but certainly not enough to fill out an entire special exhibit so had to wait a bit on some of the items,” said Bussey. “We partnered with local historical societies and individuals who were willing to share their collection items with us for an extended exhibit.”
Bussey and her team used research as their starting point. “To overcome this obstacle, we worked on the general topics and trends, historical context, cultural history, etc. We generally knew what decade the loaned items fit into, so that helped establish a starting point.
“We knew that we wanted to final exhibit to not only showcase the amazing fashions and accessories, but that the fashions be shown within an understandable historical timeline,” she added. “We asked ourselves, what was going on in the nation and internationally that affected the styles, the materials, availability of materials; the economy had a huge affect on all aspects of life especially what was available–or unavailable–to purchase, rent, borrow.”
She added: “It is amazing to see how specific events could affect such details as waistlines and hemlines, types of fabrics used for gowns, even down to the types of flowers that the bride carried or wore.”
The next offering on the schedule is “Through the Eyes of a Child,” which opens Nov. 7.
For reservations, call (330) 972-6909 or email [email protected].
For info, visit howerhouse.org.
Hower House is a second empire Italianate structure, built in 1871 by Akron Industrialist, John Henry Hower and his wife, Susan Youngker Hower. The designer of this 28-room Victorian Mansion was Jacob Snyder, a noted Akron architect, perhaps best known for his part in developing the “Akron Plan,” a floor plan widely used in church constructions locally and across the United States between 1870 and 1917. The Hower House is supported by private donations by The Hower House Museum Guild, and The University of Akron. Hower House Museum is open 11 months per year and offers a variety of exhibits and programs.