Vintage bridal gowns now on display at History Museum

Vintage bridal gowns are now on display at the History Museum of Hood River County, in an exhibition titled “Bridal Gowns of the Past.”

Drawn from the permanent collection and showcased in the Atrium Gallery, these gowns map the changing fashions in tailoring, fit and ornamentation, said Lynn Federle Orr, Ph.D., museum executive director, and will be on display through Aug. 31.

“’Bridal Gowns of the Past’ is a very special exhibition, because vintage garments are particularly delicate, and most fabric is susceptible to light damage,” said Orr. “Thus, items from museum costume collections can only be shared with our visitors infrequently and for brief periods of time. But our collection boasts some extraordinary wedding dresses, made for and/or worn by Hood River brides, ranging in date from circa 1840 to 1992. Each gown tells a special story, not only about the young woman who wore the dress, but also about the evolving history of fashion, tailoring, and by extension the role of women in society. It is amazing how much you can learn by looking closely at a garment.”

Featured in the current exhibition are dresses worn by notable Hood River brides, including Misses Bostwick, Pooley, Radliff, Volstoff, and Wagner. Gowns of brides marrying into the Duckwall and Lage familes are also included. The most modern dress, created in 1992, is fashioned in the Plains Indian style, honoring the Native American heritage of bride Juana McCall. Donated to the museum recently by Juana‘s mother Caroline Roth, the ensemble includes wedding dress, moccasins, and small handbag made of cream-colored tanned elk hides, as well as handcrafted jewelry.

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