Following its successful and well-received Part I, NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society opens Part II on Friday, August 12, 2022.
From flapper dresses to leisure suits, Maine Historical Society (MHS) presents clothing, vintage wear and fascinating stories of Maine people spanning late 19th and 20th centuries (1890 to 1980.) All-new vignettes include Turn-of-the-Century; Designer fashions; the Maine Outdoors; Women at Work and a World at War; Chemistry and Fashion; Bridal and Formalwear; and Silhouettes in Sequence.
New and returning visitors will encounter even more beautifully dressed mannequins, accessories and artifacts beyond those in Part I (which focused on 1790-1889 clothing). Trends, fibers, themes, and narratives will contextualize garments into distinct facets of 19th and 20th century Maine and American history. Many visitors will relive memories of parents, grandparents, high school, weddings and proms as they view a progression of styles that were once all the rage. Younger gallery guests attracted to retro and vintage clothing will find inspiration in the variety of surprising patterns, colors, and funky fashions.
Central to MHS’ 200th anniversary, NORTHERN THREADS considers how the clothing Maine people have worn reveals the social, economic, and environmental history of our state. For example, the exhibition explores fabric production and accessibility, women’s independence, and the devastating impact of the fur industry.
Virtual Access: Illuminating history though never-before-exhibited items from MHS’ permanent collection, NORTHERN THREADS also opens unprecedented online public access through the Maine Memory Network. A 3-D virtual tour and detailed digital exhibit (online August 31) increase accessibility 24/7 for those unable to visit the gallery in person, or for guests seeking to explore the MHS Historic Clothing, Costume and Dress Collection portal.
Public Programs: Most public programs are free and virtual, such as Black Fashion History in Maine: Examining the Clothing in Nineteenth-Century Photographs with Karin J. Bohleke on August 9.
Companion Exhibits: The following in-person mini-exhibits rotate within the MHS galleries. Check www.mainehistory.org for these exhibition dates, NORTHERN THREADS programming, and for updates on MHS’ 200th anniversary activities and events.
- Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage;
- Representing every particular: John Martin’s 19th century fashion illustrations;
- Fashion for the People: Maine Graphic Tees;
- Wadsworth-Longfellow family historic clothing, 1780-1825 on view in the popular Wadsworth-Longfellow House during the peak summer season; and
- Chansonetta Stanley Emmons: Staging the Past
How to see NORTHERN THREADS: Visit www.mainehistory.org/exhibits for details on tickets and admission to the MHS gallery on 489 Congress Street in Portland. Access for MHS members is free; general admission adults $10; children (6-17) $5, and under 6, free. Become a member before you book!
Northern Threads is made possible by dedicated staff, contributors, partners, and donors, including:
BHA Foundation Fund
Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust
Elsie A. Brown Fund, Inc.
The Coby Foundation for Textiles, Ltd.
Down East Magazine (Media Sponsor)
Institute of Museum & Library Services
William Sloane Jelin Foundation
The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust
Karen and Kirk Pelletier
Deborah S. Reed
The Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Foundation
Doris S. Stockly