Historical look at fashion accessories draws a crowd

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Since the DuPage County Historical Museum, located at 102 E. Wesley St. in Wheaton, opened its new exhibit entitled Fashion Accessories In Vogue… or Not in January, patrons have been eager to check out the historical fashion pieces and read the stories behind them.

These accessories speak volumes about the way people lived and what they believed about the world and themselves. Ultimately, they teach us about ourselves.

In the first six weeks, approximately 500 people visited the exhibit.

Many visitors remember particular pieces from their past. For example, Michelle Podkawa, museum visitor services coordinator, said one visitor saw a JC Penney catalog and recalls playing with the paper dolls from the very same catalog.

Many other visitors have seen pieces in the exhibit that remind them of what their parents wore, or perhaps what they wore as young children. Several have even bonded with their grandchildren by showing them the exhibit and allowing the children to interact with their favorite pieces. Perhaps not surprisingly, young boys have been particularly drawn to the pieces that use hair in their creation, such as watch fobs and women’s rings.

Upcoming programs and events include Love under Fire: The Story of Bertha and Potter Palmer, an epic love story between young socialite Berta Honoré and Potter Palmer, a self-made man 20 years her senior. Their passion for one another and the city they loved would inspire Chicago to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire. Reservations are required. This event runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, and this event is free.

Additionally, Speaking of Unmentionables: The Rise and Fall of Ladies Underwear will be presented on Saturday, May 3 from 3-4 p.m. Throughout history, a women’s frame has not always been entirely her own. This novel presentation will unveil facts and expose myths about women’s unmentionables. It includes stories from real women, past and present, and their amusing and sometimes uncomfortable relationships with their foundations. Participants will also view actual examples of historic underwear. Reservations are requested, and this event is free.

In Vogue runs now through Aug. 24. For more information on the exhibit or to register for these programs, visit www.dupagemuseum.org or call (630) 510-4941.