Virginia Historical Society announces Downton Abbey-inspired exhibit

Exhibition will feature over 35 costumes from the hit PBS series set in the World War I era.

Construction is underway on a $38 million improvement project at the Virginia Historical Society, as we reported last week, but the show must go on. The VHS has announced a new nationally touring exhibit coming to the museum next fall.

“Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times,” will be presented in one of the museum’s newly created changing exhibition spaces, part of the currently-underway Story of Virginia capital improvement campaign.

The nationally touring exhibit will run from October 2015 all the way through January of 2016 and consists of 35 costumes and accessories from the Downton Abbey show, allowing visitors to step into the lives of aristocratic inhabitants and their servants during the World War I period.

Exhibits Development Group, the company behind the traveling exhibition, says the catalog of costumes included in the exhibition represent a time of transition in the early 20th century, and may have helped pave the way for expanded women’s rights.

Fashions in Britain between 1912 and the mid-1920s reflected an era of great change. This period produced women who took a more active role in their lives, which prompted them to discard their figure-changing corsets and to shorten their skirts, freeing their busts and unshackling their legs. The resulting trends and transformations formed the basis for fashions that were to follow throughout the 20th century.

The First World War had a lasting effect on people’s lives and on the way they dressed. Women discovered that they could contribute to society in many new ways; they became nurses, worked in factories and were finally allowed to vote.

Altria Group, a major corporate philanthropist in the arts and culture realms around town as of late, provided funding for the exhibit’s stop in Richmond.

For more information, including important construction-related tips you should keep in mind when visiting during the exhibit, visit the VHS website.

Photo: PBS

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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