Sunday, August 11, 2013

Accessories at the Kearny History Museum: Part 1

The Kearny History Museum has on display a plethora of antique accessories, which I would like to share with you in detail. The following parasol, muff, and hat are displayed with the 1907-096 Blue Wool Visiting Dress.

This silk and tulle parasol has a curved bamboo handle dates the parasol to around 1895. The silk cover of the parasol, a silk and cappuccino stripe, has become rusted in many places from the frame. The entirety of the silk cover is shattered; if I were to open this umbrella, the whole cover would disintegrate in a poof of dust. The tulle ruffles isn't in the best shape either; it's dirty and pretty torn up in some places. The tulle ruffles are edged with ivory silk ribbon. The parasol is tipped with plain ivory. It is decorated with a silk tassel.

White & Major Makers
White & Major Makers
The hallmark stamp.
This mink fur muff is the only fur piece in the museum. It is lined in brown cotton. It is sturdy and in good condition, although in some places the cotton lining has become unsewn from the fur. A layer of cotton canvas (?) is between the fur and the lining. A small piece like this would've been an economical way for a woman to express the wealth of a middle-class income, without having to make such an expensive investment such as a fur coat.

The striped color graduations of the mink are visually stunning, yet a simple complement to an outfit.

This hat was actually made by a woman of Kearny, Florence Parisen Kennealy. The hat has sadly suffered from direct exposure to the sun underneath the enormous skylight; it has become a faded vestige, having lost all of the grandeur of its luster. The dusty blue plumes have faded to a barely-there blue; the cornflower blue velvet ribbons are limp and pale. The hat is made of straw, and has two rather large black stains on the crown, which I speculate might be mold or moisture damage. The brim is covered in a layer of tulle embroidered with large, plush blue flowers, and a blue velvet ribbon lies between the brim and the crown. Larger velvet ribbons underneath the brim form an expanse of several large (though deflated) bows along the back of the hat.

You can see where the dyed blue plumes retained their color, and where they faded to near white.
One of the flowers on the embroidered trim.
Several large, mysterious stains on the crown.
I'm suspect that whatever fell onto this hat had corrosive qualities, as it wore holes right through the straw.
Gathered linen underneath the hat helps hold the hat on ones head.

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