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The wedding is an age-old ceremony full of tradition, symbolism, and celebration. This public declaration of love and commitment has rituals deeply rooted in man’s history that are still practiced in modern society. Such an event calls for preparation, decoration and, of course, fashion.
As the wedding begins, music sounds and guests rise to their feet to await, along with the groom, the bride’s entrance. For some women, this moment has been dreamed of since childhood and, the wedding dress is both an important focal point in the ceremony and an excitingly thought-out detail in the bride’s planning process. While many aspects of weddings have stood the test of time, fashion evolves and tastes change. The Charleston Museum’s upcoming exhibit, Unveiled: Wedding Fashion and Traditions in the South, will allow visitors to see how wedding dress styles have changed throughout time and will examine trends and traditions. From orange blossom adornments and blue garters to the magnificent white gown, the Museum will exhibit an array of garments from the early 1800s through the mid- 20th century. On display will be everything from gowns, veils, garters, shoes, and jewelry to men’s fashions such as frock coats, tuxedoes, and hats.
The style of each period is evident; garments from the 1810s look very different from those of the 1860s, 1890s or 1920s. Taken from the Museum’s collection, most of the items will relate directly to the South Carolina Lowcountry while reflecting wedding customs across time.
Spending time by the ocean, whether in the water or on the sand, has always been a way for people to connect with nature. Historically a place for wealthy rice planters to summer, Charleston’s beaches and islands have become a tourist destination and vital to the local economy. Beaches and Boardwalks exhibit from February 1 to July 31, 2016, will feature images taken by local photographers of the surrounding beaches and islands of Charleston.
Gabriel E. Manigault became curator of the The Charleston Museum in 1873 while it was still a part of the College of Charleston. Before and during his time as Curator of the Museum he collected and mounted skeletons of animals from all over the globe. This exhibit will showcase these wonderfully preserved specimens while teaching visitors about skeletal anatomy, adaptations, and relationships between different animal groups as evidenced by their bones.
Just below the surface of the Earth, rocks and minerals make up the foundation on which we have built our society. From the technology we use every day to the homes we live in, we utilize rocks and minerals in more ways than we often realize. This exhibit will focus on the various rocks and minerals that make up our world, and worlds beyond our own, and the ways they sustain our lives.
In Fall 2016, The Charleston Museum will present Killer Fashion: The Consequence of Style in its Historic Textiles Gallery. The latest offering from its extensive historic textiles collection, the exhibit will look at the often tragic side of fashionable dress as it relates to the natural environment and those who wore these garments. Fashion’s impact throughout history has been far-reaching but it has not been without its victims. Often, achieving the height of fashion meant causing serious environmental impact or harm to the wearer. Whether beaver fur for hats, elephant ivory for fans or whale bone for corsets, animal populations were frequently decimated in the name of fashion. Corsets, if tied too tightly, meanwhile, restricted breathing and could even rearrange organs while hoops skirts could easily brush against candle flames or get caught in carriage wheel spokes; men’s high colors could lead to asphyxia or choking. Through examples from the collections, the exhibit will explore threats to both animals and humans in the name of fashion.