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In Summer 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 collars 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.buy tickets
South Carolina’s Lowcountry plantations, producing both rice and sea island cotton, were once a major source of revenue for the region’s wealthy elite. The use of enslaved labor to grow and harvest these crops created a unique existence between slave and owner that required a close but vastly different lifestyle. This exhibit will feature images of plantation houses and slave cabins along with the fields and rivers that once intertwined the lives of black and white inhabitants.buy tickets
Just below the surface of the Earth, rocks and minerals make up the foundation on which we have built our society. Just Below the Surface: Digging Deep into Rocks and Minerals explores the many different groups of rocks and minerals that make up the world around us. We ourselves are composed of minerals such as those found in teeth and bones. The technology we use every day in our homes such as computers, cell phones, and televisions have components made from rocks and minerals. Minerals such as quartz and feldspar are found in glass and concrete, metallic minerals contain iron which we use to build our cars and homes, and various other minerals are used to build the circuit boards for all manner of devices. Even the world money system has dependent on the worth gold and silver ore and other minerals, such as platinum, are often attributed high monetary worth due to their scarcity.
Rocks and minerals can also tell humans about our prehistoric past. Meteorites have chemistry similar to the Earth’s core, which allows us to study what the Earth may have been like early in its formation. Rocks like sandstone can preserve fossilized remains of animals and plants of the past. Just Below the Surface will explore how these various rocks and minerals form, what rocks and minerals certain everyday objects are composed of, and how these resources are obtained and reused.