Visting The Muscatine Art Center’s Till Death: Wedding and Mourning Traditions Exhibition

KWPC’s Amy K and Tim Scott attended the opening of “Till Death: Wedding and Mourning Traditions” exhibition at the Muscatine Art Center and there was even more to see. Aside from beautiful garments used in weddings as well as Mourning and Half Mourning dresses. While pictures of the dresses are not permitted by the public, you can views some of them at their website but nothing quite shows their beauty resilience like seeing them in person.

From the Muscatine Art Center website:

“The exhibition spotlights how Iowans exchanged vows and laid to rest their loved ones and how those customs changed over time. Visitors may be surprised to discover wedding dresses made in a variety of colors and fabrics such as wool, crepe, silk, satin, and even cotton. Some are heavily embellished while others are plain – both styles dictated by the trends of the day and the wearer’s wealth and status.

The earliest dress in the exhibition was worn by Sarah Filbert when she wed Richard Musser on September 11, 1849. The two-piece dress consists of a green silk-satin bodice and skirt that accommodates a bustle. Another early gown is a ‘half-mourning’ dress of orange and blue, iridescent, silk jacquard worn by a member of the Marion Vance Family. In addition to dress descriptions, information is provided on the wearers such as the bride and groom or mourner.

One highlight is the Stevens collection of wedding gowns that weaves together the stories of five couples. Gowns in this collection date from 1869, 1884, 1917, 1918, and 1943. The 1943 gown was worn by Lorraine Willis when she wed John Clay Stevens on November 6, 1943 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Muscatine. The marriage took place shortly before John’s deployment on Christmas Eve of 1943. John wore his military jacket for the ceremony, and the jacket is on view in the exhibition.”

On view through June 9th through November 1, 2020 in the Stanley Gallery, the exhibition is one of tradition and history. Check it out while it lasts.

This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.

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