July 22, 2024

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Shopping, Clothing & Fashion

Dozens of 19th-century clothing and accessories on display at Naper Settlement exhibit

Dozens of 19th-century clothing and accessories on display at Naper Settlement exhibit

Naper Settlement presents the beauty and perils of 19th-century clothing in the new exhibit, “Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now.”

Now on view through Nov. 3, 2023, “Infrastructure” features dozens of garments and accessories from the Naperville Heritage Society and Winnetka Historical Society’s collections.


See a three-piece theatrical costume with full dress, overskirt, and jacket, courtesy of TimeLine Theatre-Chicago. A vintage late 19th-century man's tail coat and a shirt, vest and tie representing a costume version of what a "dandy" might wear in the 19th century, courtesy of TimeLine Theatre-Chicago. A woman's undergarments, including a chemise, bust padding, hip padding, corset, corset cover, pantalets, and petticoat.


See a three-piece theatrical costume with full dress, overskirt, and jacket, courtesy of TimeLine Theatre-Chicago. A vintage late 19th-century man’s tail coat and a shirt, vest and tie representing a costume version of what a “dandy” might wear in the 19th century, courtesy of TimeLine Theatre-Chicago. A woman’s undergarments, including a chemise, bust padding, hip padding, corset, corset cover, pantalets, and petticoat.
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement

Visitors explore how 19th-century clothing was created and worn in the past, as well as the complexities of today’s recreations for the stage through a partnership with TimeLine Theatre Company.

The exhibit is inspired by the fabric scrapbook of early Naperville resident Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh.

Beginning with the Civil War through her marriage in 1903, Hannah’s fabric scrapbook documents over 50 years of fashion history with meticulously preserved fabric swatches and notations on how on how her fabric was used, reused, and the memories made while wearing it.



Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh's clothing scrapbook tells the story of 50 years of fashion, part off the exhibit, "Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now" at Naper Settlement.


Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh’s clothing scrapbook tells the story of 50 years of fashion, part off the exhibit, “Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now” at Naper Settlement.
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

“Hannah’s scrapbook takes us into a world where things were not gotten easily nor discarded lightly,” said Dina Spoerl, exhibits team leader at Naper Settlement. “Her notes document her use and reuse of materials over time, from their original incarnation, alterations to the dress shape and design, and the ingenuity of using the same items for different purposes to avoid waste.

“Her scrapbook compels us to think about the way we buy and discard clothing now in the age of fast fashion and its dire effects on the environment,” Spoerl said.



Victorian mourning rituals for women required a new wardrobe of black dresses and jet jewelry. Early synthetic black dyes often used chemicals like benzene and chromium. The dyes were so toxic that they could cause skin and eye irritation, acne, skin sores, and headaches.


Victorian mourning rituals for women required a new wardrobe of black dresses and jet jewelry. Early synthetic black dyes often used chemicals like benzene and chromium. The dyes were so toxic that they could cause skin and eye irritation, acne, skin sores, and headaches.
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement

“Infrastructure” also explains how 19th-century clothing was often dangerous to wear and deadly to make due to the use of arsenic, acid, and other such substances.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

The recreation of period garments for the stage is also highlighted, including the challenges and triumphs involved in creating costume productions in modern times. Visitors will meet local costume designer Jaime Silverman and learn how 19th-century clothing is re-created for the stage.



Nineteenth century fans, woman's gloves, and purses are some of the items displayed at the Naper Settlement exhibit, "Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now."


Nineteenth century fans, woman’s gloves, and purses are some of the items displayed at the Naper Settlement exhibit, “Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now.”
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement

Beautiful recreations from local productions by TimeLine Theatre Company are also on display.

The exhibit is located in the museum’s three main galleries and Pine Craig Mansion.

“Infrastructure: Creating 19th-Century Clothing Then and Now” is included in museum admission.

Museum admission is free for Naperville residents with proof of residency or museum members. For other visitors, it is $12 for age 13 or older, $10 for age 62 or older, $8 for age 4 to 12.


In the early 19th century, men's clothing became simplified with clean lines, dark colors and detailed finishes. Gone were the powdered wigs, opulent clothing and even high heels from the 1700s.


In the early 19th century, men’s clothing became simplified with clean lines, dark colors and detailed finishes. Gone were the powdered wigs, opulent clothing and even high heels from the 1700s.
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement

For more information, visit NaperSettlement.org/Infrastructure.

Naper Settlement is a nationally accredited, award-winning outdoor living history museum set on 13 magnificent acres in the heart of Naperville. Located 30 miles from Chicago, the museum is home to 31 historical structures dating back as early as the 1830s. Featuring exhibits, special events, educational programming and more, Naper Settlement is where history comes alive and the community comes to connect. For more information, visit www.napersettlement.org or call (630) 420-6010.



A pair of woman's slipper shoes, 1832, with pointed decoration on the toe; a pair of black leather, lace-up woman's boots, circa 1880; and a silver shoe horn and button hook from the late 19th century are part of the Naper Settlement exhibit, "Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now."


A pair of woman’s slipper shoes, 1832, with pointed decoration on the toe; a pair of black leather, lace-up woman’s boots, circa 1880; and a silver shoe horn and button hook from the late 19th century are part of the Naper Settlement exhibit, “Infrastructure: Creating 19th Century Clothing Then and Now.”
– Courtesy of Naper Settlement

Founded in 1969, the Naperville Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization and administrator of Naper Settlement, the City of Naperville’s museum. With a commitment to the community and a focus to the future, the mission of the Naperville Heritage Society is to collect, document, preserve, and support the history of Naperville, past and present.