Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility

Clothes speak volumes without saying a word. Just by glancing at someone’s duds, you can often tell what they do for a living, what they do for fun, or even gain some insight into their politics or religion. For hundreds of years, clothes and accessories were one of the most powerful ways a woman could express herself.

Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of the American Nobility” at the Benjamin HarrisonRaising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility
Presidential Site examines the changing role of clothes throughout history and what they say about their wearers. The exhibit, housed in the historic carriage house at the Harrison home, features dresses, hats, shoes, capes and fans, including some owned by First Ladies. Get an up-close-and-personal look at dresses belonging to Mary Todd Lincoln, Mamie Eisenhower, and Caroline Harrison, to name but a few.

Besides taking in the gorgeous clothes, you’ll also learn how clothes reflect women’s changing roles in the world. As women moved out of the house and into the workforce, hems got shorter, reflecting new freedom and mobility. You can also get hands-on with life-sized paper dolls and a table full of fans you can try on for size.

Make sure you don’t miss the permanent collection of women’s suffrage artifacts chronicling the fight for the vote. And of course, you’ll want to tour the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. Home to our 23rd president, the 1875 Italianate brick home on the Old Northside is a remarkable piece of both Hoosier and American history.

“Raising the Hem” will be on display through December 31, 2013. Make sure to check back frequently, as artifacts will rotate. Tours of the historic site are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for students and children.

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Tagged: Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, exhibits, Raising the Hem.
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