Thursday, July 30, 2009


We all have a passion or passions in life. One of mine is collecting 17th and 18th century clothing and accessories. Another one is American history. I have a long standing relationship with Garfield Farm Inn & Tavern which is a fantastic local living history museum. In the past they have asked me to do presentations. When they approached me this year about doing a lecture I had an idea. Why not do an exhibit? The idea transformed into a vision. Why not exhibit my 17th and 18th century collection? The vision became a project. The project was to decide where to have the exhibit and how to display the collection. The project developed into a partnership. It was decided that the collection would be exhibited in the various rooms at Garfield Inn and Tavern. The partnership produced an exhibit. The exhibit was wonderful. It sounds simple doesn't it? Well there were mailing lists that had to be comprised, a vignette to be photographed, a postcard to be designed and printed, a mass mailing of over 2500 cards, publicity to be set in place, an arrangement to borrow mannequins from the Aurora Historical Society, the pickup and delivery of the mannequins, a three day display setup and a total of 505 miles traveled back and forth between my home and the museum. Somewhere in between all that I think I might have had one or two nervous breakdowns. I'm not sure. The results, however, were spectacular. The early clothing made the tavern and inn become alive. The day of the exhibit was sunny with a bright blue sky. We had visitors from Missouri, Wisconsin and Indiana. A number of people from The Northwest Territory Alliance, which is a re enactment group, dressed up in 18th clothing. How cool! Would you believe some people stayed FOUR hours! The next day I spent a solid 7 hours taking down the exhibit and packing. I was exhausted but oh so happy. I had never seen my entire collection out at the same time let alone on mannequins. WOW! I was even impressed. You might ask if I would do another exhibit and my answer would be not in the foreseeable future. However I did learn one thing. Ideas can be dangerous.

I want to thank everyone who helped with the exhibit. Also a special thanks to the wonderful people who took the time to come and visit me, the exhibit and Garfield Farm.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I have an undeniable passion for 17th and 18th century clothing and textiles. The richness of the fabric, the complexity of the embroidery and the stately elegance of the design is astounding. Take that passion and mix it with a historic site. It's a natural. When I was approached by Garfield Farm Museum's assistant site manager, William Wolcott, and asked to due a lecture about clothing, I said "I'll do one better. How about an exhibit?" Thus the birth of a project that in reality is a labor of love.

I will have the pleasure of sharing my private collection of 18th century clothing and appropriate accessories with you at Garfield Farm Inn Museum, La Fox, Illinois. Some of the examples on display will be open robes, a man's matching frock coat and breeches, various waistcoats, a child's dress, numerous stomachers and stays, caps, shoes and miscellaneous sundries. There will also be a few choice examples of late 17th century items.

Take a trip back in time and get a taste of history. Join me, attired in 18th century clothing, at the picturesque 1840's Garfield Farm Inn Muesum and view my collection in an intimate setting located in the historic inn and tavern. Take a stroll and wander around this fascinating and important living history farm. Garfield Farm Inn Museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Sites.

Saturday, July 25th, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..
Garfield Farm Inn Museum, La Fox, Illinois
(Just off IL. Route 38, 4 miles west of Geneva)

For more details:
Donna Finegan (847) 991-3911 or website or email address

Garfield Farm Inn Museum (630) 584-8485 or website or email address

Hope to see you on the 25th!