A new display, Collection Stories, will shine a light on the outstanding collection of historical fashions kept in the Fashion Museum Bath’s 19th century store. Collection Stories will open at the Fashion Museum on May 17, 2019. There are hundreds of fascinating individual stories within the Fashion Museum collection. Collection Stories will uncover some of the hidden narratives that make up the collection. Each star object on display has been chosen for the story it tells and to represent each area of the Fashion Museum collection stored in the gallery. From shoes and bonnets to lace and wedding dresses, the treasured pieces specially selected for display hint at the astonishing size and depth of the Fashion Museum’s Designated* collection of around 100,000 objects. Exploring them in detail offers an opportunity to discover more about the people who wore them, the people who collected them and what they tell us about the history of fashionable dress. Each display case will be dedicated to a different element of the Fashion Museum’s collection: shawls, stoles and scarves; lace and whitework; bonnets and hats; wedding dresses; underwear; parasols and umbrellas; men’s waistcoats and hats; shoes and boots will all be on show, displayed amongst the storage boxes and acid-free tissues used to preserve them.
The Collection Stories gallery will also showcase a special space for regularly changing displays called Fashion Focus. The first Fashion Focus display, opening in May 2019, is called Little and Large and showcases the Fashion Museum’s enchanting collection of antique “fashion” dolls displayed alongside beautiful life size fashions from the same historical period. Dress makers often placed fashion dolls in their windows wearing miniature versions of women’s fashions to show what they could make. The stand out doll in Little and Large is a fashion doll from the 1870s with wax head in a plum satin and cream lace dress. The doll’s garments are very likely to be from Paris. Mrs Enid Hurst gave the doll to the museum in 1968, noting in her original letter that the doll had been in her family for five generations. Because of its age and fragility, the doll was sent in a box on a passenger train and collect