It’s almost wedding season, and the Augusta Museum of History is inviting the public to see its collection of wedding dresses.
These dresses aren’t for sale, but will display wedding fashions from bygone eras.
In a new exhibit titled Tying the Knot, which opened last week, three wedding dresses, one tuxedo and several accessory items show how wedding fashions have changed through the 20th century.
Each dress is accompanied by a portrait of the bride in her dress.
The oldest dress is a slender taffeta from 1909 that belonged to Mattie Bell Winges, on display with the tuxedo worn by her husband, William Hagler.
“These two are the only husband and wife (pieces) we have, so that’s kind of special,” said museum registrar Amanda Klaus. “For being over 100 years old, the clothes are just in really great shape.”
Evelyn McDaniel’s silk dress is also on display, along with the floor-length lace veil she wore on her wedding day in 1932. The dress is fastened by two buttons on the side and presented a challenge for Klaus, who created mannequins to display each dress.
The waist is so tiny that she had to build the form very small and fill it out after the dress was on the mannequin. Otherwise she couldn’t fit the waist over the shoulders, she said.
The veil flows from the headpiece to the hem. The slender silhouette of the dress is typical of the 1930s, she said.
“We tried to recreate the photograph of her with her train,” she said.
The most recent dress was worn by Sharon Ziegler in 1965. It features lace and netting and creates a bell-shaped effect.
Klaus said when she told Ziegler her dress would be on display, Ziegler contacted her two daughters, who also donated their dresses. Klaus said one day she may display the three dresses together.
Accessories on display include a headdress from 1871 when the style was more natural, floral pieces, kid gloves and silk-beaded shoes.
A handwritten marriage license from 1803 has been reproduced for display.
The cases that present the collection were specifically built to display the clothing and accessories using a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
All of the clothing in the museum’s collection is stacked in boxes in the museum’s storage area.
“Amanda’s idea was to get this grant and see if we can build a case so we can get (these items) rotated through,” said Nancy Glaser, executive director of the museum.
The collections will rotate once a year, Klaus said.