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Online Exhibits

Your results include these online exhibits. You also can view all of the site's exhibits, view a timeline of selected events in Maine History, and learn how to create your own exhibit. See featured exhibits or create your own exhibit


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The Mainspring of Fashion

The mainspring of fashion is the process whereby members of one class imitate the styles of another, who in turn are driven to ever new expedients of fashionable change.

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Northern Threads: Early Republic era Fashion dolls

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring Early Repulic-era (ca.1780-1820) fashion dolls.

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Northern Threads: Mourning Fashions

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 18th and 19th century mourning jewelry and fashions.

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Fashionable Maine: early twentieth century clothing

Maine residents kept pace with the dramatic shift in women’s dress that occurred during the short number of years preceding and immediately following World War I. The long restrictive skirts, stiff collars, body molding corsets and formal behavior of earlier decades quickly faded away and the new straight, dropped waist easy-to-wear clothing gave mobility and freedom of movement in tune with the young independent women of the casual, post-war jazz age generation.

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Northern Threads: Bustle era fashions

A themed vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 1870s and 80s era bustle silhouettes.

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Northern Threads: Two centuries of dress at Maine Historical

Organized by themed vignettes, Northern Threads shares stories about Maine people, while exploring how the clothing they wore reveals social, economic, and environmental histories. This re-examination of Maine Historical Society's permanent collection is an opportunity to consider the relevance of historic clothing in museums, the ebb and flow of fashion styles, and the complexities of diverse representation spanning 200 years of collecting.

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Cosmopolitan stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

Born in Portland, sisters Mildred Giddings Burrage (1890-1983) and Madeleine Burrage (1891-1976) were renowned artists and world travelers. Mildred's experiences studying painting in Paris and Italy, and the sisters' trips to Mexico and Guatemala inspired their artwork and shared passions for cosmopolitan and stylish attire. Housed at Maine Historical Society, The Burrage Papers include selections of original advertising drawings called "line sheets" from Parisian fashion houses dating from 1928 to 1936. Images of Madeleine's gemstone jewelry and Mildred's artwork accompany intimate family photographs of the sisters.

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Northern Threads: Outerwear, Militia & Cadet uniforms

A themed vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 19th century outerwear, bonnets, militia and cadet uniforms.

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Taber Wagon

The Taber farm wagon was an innovative design that was popular on New England farms. It made lifting potato barrels onto a wagon easier and made more efficient use of the horse's work. These images glimpse the life work of its inventor, Silas W. Taber of Houlton, and the place of his invention in the farming community

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Holding up the Sky: Wabanaki people, culture, history, and art

Learn about Native diplomacy and obligation by exploring 13,000 years of Wabanaki residence in Maine through 17th century treaties, historic items, and contemporary artworks—from ash baskets to high fashion. Wabanaki voices contextualize present-day relevance and repercussions of 400 years of shared histories between Wabanakis and settlers to their region.

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Northern Threads: Civil War-era clothing

An exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads, Part 1," featuring American Civil War civilian and military clothing, 1860 to 1869.

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A Tale of Two Sailmakers

Camden has been home to generations of fishermen, shipbuilders, sailmakers, and others who make their living through the sea. The lives of two Camden sailmakers, who were born nearly a century apart, became entwined at a small house on Limerock Street.

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Northern Threads: Silhouettes in Sequence, ca. 1780-1889

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring a timeline of silhouettes from about 1775 through 1889.

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Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In

Adorning oneself to look one's "best" has varied over time, gender, economic class, and by event. Adornments suggest one's sense of identity and one's intent to stand out or fit in.

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Northern Threads: The rise and fall of the gigot sleeve

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring the balloon-like gigot sleeve of the 1830s.

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Northern Threads: Colonial and 19th century fur trade

A vignette in "Northern Threads: Two centuries of dress at Maine Historical Society Part 1," this fur trade mini-exhibition discusses the environmental and economic impact of the fur trade in Maine through the 19th century.

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A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh

In 1924, with Portland was on the verge of profound changes, the Tax Assessors Office undertook a project to document every building in the city -- with photographs and detailed information that provide a unique view into Portland's architecture, neighborhoods, industries, and businesses.

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Gifts From Gluskabe: Maine Indian Artforms

According to legend, the Great Spirit created Gluskabe, who shaped the world of the Native People of Maine, and taught them how to use and respect the land and the resources around them. This exhibit celebrates the gifts of Gluskabe with Maine Indian art works from the early nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries.

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The Life and Legacy of the George Tate Family

Captain George Tate, mast agent for the King of England from 1751 to the Revolutionary War, and his descendants helped shape the development of Portland (first known as Falmouth) through activities such as commerce, shipping, and real estate.

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Art of the People: Folk Art in Maine

For many different reasons people saved and carefully preserved the objects in this exhibit. Eventually, along with the memories they hold, the objects were passed to the Maine Historical Society. Object and memory, serve as a powerful way to explore history and to connect to the lives of people in the past.

Exhibit

Remembering Mellie Dunham: Snowshoe Maker and Fiddler

Alanson Mellen "Mellie" Dunham and his wife Emma "Gram" Dunham were well-known musicians throughout Maine and the nation in the early decades of the 20th century. Mellie Dunham also received fame as a snowshoe maker.

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A City Awakes: Arts and Artisans of Early 19th Century Portland

Portland's growth from 1786 to 1860 spawned a unique social and cultural environment and fostered artistic opportunity and creative expression in a broad range of the arts, which flowered with the increasing wealth and opportunity in the city.

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Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

The Wadsworth-Longfellow house is the oldest building on the Portland peninsula, the first historic site in Maine, a National Historic Landmark, home to three generations of Wadsworth and Longfellow family members -- including the boyhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The history of the house and its inhabitants provide a unique view of the growth and changes of Portland -- as well as of the immediate surroundings of the home.

Exhibit

Portland Hotels

Since the establishment of the area's first licensed hotel in 1681, Portland has had a dramatic, grand and boisterous hotel tradition. The Portland hotel industry has in many ways reflected the growth and development of the city itself. As Portland grew with greater numbers of people moving through the city or calling it home, the hotel business expanded to fit the increasing demand.