Kicking off the wedding season in style, the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C., is launching a new exhibition titled “Wedding Belles: Bridal Fashions from the Marjorie Merriweather Post Family: 1874 – 1958.”
The exhibition was developed by Howard Kurtz, associate professor in Mason’s Department of Theater and associate curator of costumes and textiles at Hillwood.
The exhibition will run from June 18, 2011 to January 1, 2012. Revealing how three generations of Post family women celebrated weddings, the exhibition will feature wedding and bridesmaid dresses worn by members of the Post family spanning more than 80 years, as well as a variety of wedding-day accessories.
“This exhibition is important because it focuses on Mrs. Post as a woman rather than on her collections,” says Kurtz. “The “Wedding Belles” exhibition goes a step further to follow the evolution of Mrs. Post’s style from a young bride to an accomplished businesswoman.”
“The decisions she made and the fashion trends she set have endured for decades and are continuing to inform today’s American brides.”
Drawn mainly from Hillwood’s extensive costume collection, the exhibition begins with an elegant satin gray dress that was worn by Post’s mother in 1874. It continues with all four of Post’s wedding gowns and one gown from each of her three daughters’ weddings.
To put the time period into perspective, Kurtz conducted hours of research to acquire historical documents from the Hillwood archives such as photographs, newspaper articles and oral histories.
Hillwood is the former home of Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, who lived from 1887 to 1973. Post created a place for herself in American history as one of America’s first businesswomen and an avid art collector, philanthropist and socialite.
Now a museum, Hillwood is known primarily for its collection of Russian imperial art and French decorative art, as well as its extensive collection of twentieth century apparel.
More information about the exhibition can be found on the website.