white, gold, brown, and white historic heeled shoes with beads and lace

All Dressed Up

May 29, 2021 - October 31, 2021

Old City Hall

Curated by Maria Coltharp, Collections Curator

When one thinks about the Whatcom Museum collections, many things may come to mind: The John M. Edson Hall of Birds, the contemporary masterpieces in the art collection, the Photo Archives, or the treasures in the history collection. Perhaps lesser known is the incredible clothing collection that includes examples of historic garments spanning from the 1800s through the mid-20th century.

Historic clothing has the ability to transport people to a different time or place, to sense that these items were worn by real people, and to imagine oneself in their midst. All Dressed Up… highlights some of the more colorful examples of artistry as fashion in the Museum’s collection. The exhibit showcases items of clothing that would have been worn “out on the town,” such as a stunning blue striped silk dress with off-white satin banding from the 1910s and the dramatic 1928 lavender full-length chiffon gown worn by the artist Helen Loggie.

An array of vintage designer evening shoes will also be on display, as well as an assortment of antique fashion accessories. Allow yourself to be immersed in the styles and color palettes of the past century and to contemplate the significance of getting “all dressed up” for an occasion, for company, or just for oneself.

Collections Curator Maria Coltharp offers a quick overview and tour of some of the garments in this exhibition. Watch the video!

Support for collections photography provided by Art Bridges Bridge Ahead Initiative.