Focusing on Education

For the second year, I was able to focus my millinery interpretation, during GCVM’S Civil War Living History Weekend on women’s employment. Shifting from the “pretty” of millinery to the women and history connected to each part of a piece of millinery allows us to have more indepth, more genuine conversations with visitors.

Before and After

To prepare for the weekend, the Insurance Office needed to be transformed once again into a millinery shop. Here are before and after looks from the doorway.

With the focus on education, I brought educational display items in addition to the items for creating the appearance of millinery shop. On the front table is the straw millinery display showing the steps from wheat to straw to plait, with different examples of plait and straw motifs. To the right is a visual resource book filled with illustrations, cdvs, photographs of my millinery blocks, and copies of billheads. Additional reference books are on the shelf beside the mantle. On the side table is a new display board I thought of last minute and plan to develop further. These are touchable items, each representing not only a component in making a hat or bonnet, but also an employment for women or children.

Having resources and visuals available to share with visitors as their questions and our conversations unfolded was extremely helpful. I grabbed the visual resource flip book several times each day to show visitors the illustrations of cottage industry, photos of millinery blocks, and billheads. The copy of Virginia Penny’s Employments of Women was also referenced a few times either to show the multitude of employment opportunities for women or to let a visitor look up a particular job.

This year, visitors came with excellent questions. Some wanted to know how a woman got a job working in a millinery, what kinds of things they did, how much they got paid, and what the work day was like. Some even want to role play in first person. I plan to include some of these questions in coming Millinery Monday posts.

On a Personal Note….

I once again failed to get many photos. I feel good about this trio as it shows I am managing the physical aspects better than I have the past several years. I am not yet as fit as I once was, but hope keep improving.

Published in: on July 24, 2022 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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