Historic Fashion Exhibition Opens at Illinois State Museum’s Lockport Gallery


View rarely seen costumes, textiles, and accessories from the Museum’s Legacy Collection

Release Date: 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

ISM Location: 

For Immediate Release:

LOCKPORT, Ill. — The Illinois State Museum today announced its Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900 exhibition is open at its Lockport Gallery in Lockport, Illinois.

Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900, featured earlier this year at the Museum’s Springfield location, explores the personal experience of wearing and caring for clothing and how fashion reflected women’s changing roles and attitudes over the first 80 years of Illinois statehood.

“After a positive reception in Springfield, we are thrilled a new audience in the Lockport area will get the chance to enjoy this exhibit,” said the exhibition’s curator, Erika Holst. “It features plenty of eye candy in the form of gorgeous, historical garments. However, Fashioning Illinois also goes much deeper. It explores the labor that went into making and caring for the textiles and clothing.”

Visitors will see examples of historical costumes, textiles, and accessories from the Illinois State Museum’s Illinois Legacy Collection. Among the garments displayed are an 1860s homespun linsey-woolsey dress; an 1850s maternity dress worn by a woman who died in childbirth; an 1890s mourning costume; and an 1880s Native American woven beaded headband.

The Illinois State Museum is particularly proud to feature a reproduction of a dress worn by freed slave Lucy McWorter (1771-1870), recreated, from an 1850s photograph, by Springfield seamstress Mary Helen Yokem in collaboration with the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum.

Fashioning Illinois is on display at Illinois State Museum’s Lockport Gallery until March 31, 2022. Admission is free. All participants must observe health and safety protocols.

Lead support for Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900 at the Lockport Gallery is generously provided by Lockport Woman's Club. Accompanying this exhibition are educational programs; more information and locations are forthcoming on illinoisstatemuseum.org.

About the Illinois State Museum

Established in 1877, the Illinois State Museum is a dynamic institution that inspires the exploration of Illinois’ past and present to inform and enrich everyday life and promote stewardship of cultural and natural resources. Headquartered in Springfield with branch facilities in Lewistown and Lockport, ISM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and a proud member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Learn more at illinoisstatemuseum.org.


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Jamila Wicks

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Lucy McWorter Photograph 

Lucy McWorter Reproduction Dress