like all items in a museum collection, can be used to illustrate or explain
a variety of topics in the history and culture of the region. Some garments
are exhibited to show methods of construction, levels of craftsmanship,
or, simply, unusual beauty. Other garments are heirlooms of a special
family event, such as a wedding or christening; they help illustrate how
people at different times celebrated life's universal milestones. Still
others show how changing attitudes in society have affected fashion- the
comparison of swimsuits in 1890 and 1990 is a good example. And specific
community-wide celebrations or events continue to be advertised or remembered
in the production of special clothing-such as T-shirts with unique logos
and dresses made to be worn in a parade or at a fair. Bustles To Bikinis
displays, in thematic groupings, both clothing accessories and complete
outfits. These items represent the breadth and diversity of the Museum's
entire costume collection.
*This special internet exhibit is divided
into the following sections:
Clothes that Document Local History
A personal object donated to a museum often represents
not just an individual's story, but an experience common to many.
The three-dimensional objects collected by our museum, along
with the documents and photographs preserved in the archives,
record not just an individual's history, but the community's.
Our community is well documented not just through archival material
and photographs, but also through wearable reminders of community
Clothes that Document Family History
We surround ourselves with objects of functionality
and beauty. Heirlooms, memorabilia, and treasured artifacts often
reflect our family's history and what has been important to us
as individuals. When passed from one generation to the next,
these items create a link between our past and the future.
Diversity & Breadth
The costume collection at the Yakima Valley Museum
spans all types of clothing from the rough home-spun, to the
high fashion designer wear. Manufacturing processes include handmade
about 1800 to a combination handmade and machine stitched with
the introduction of sewing machines in 1849 to the mass-produced
clothing after 1849.
Handle with Care
A Sign of the Time: Showing Their Age
Only a small fraction of our material culturethe tangible
evidence of our pasthas survived. The objects that remain
to tell the story are fragile. Environmental elements, the wear
and tear of use, neglect, inherent vice, vandalism, natural disasters,
human conflict, and the passage of time are taking their toll.
We are in danger of losing our heritage.
The Passage of Time
What survives through the years depends on a number of
factors. Certain materials simply last longer than others. For
example ceramics and stone are inherently stable, while other
types of materials-such as textiles and basketry-are more susceptible
to deterioration. In general, objects made from organic materials,
either cellulose (plant) or protein (animal) sources, are more
fragile than those made from more durable inorganic products
such as metal and stone.