From ‘Happily Ever After’ Exhibit: an 1858 Wedding Dress

It’s not often a small institution such as the History Museum has textiles from before the Civil War because the clothes were worn often (even wedding dresses were kept as part of a regular wardrobe) and the washings they got were harsh. If an outfit did survive its owner, it sat in an attic or basement, quickly deteriorating from exposure to light, temperature, humidity and insects. Sometimes, the period clothing was lost in a move or just forgotten.

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