4 Reasons to Visit Missouri History Museum's 'Little Black Dress' Exhibit

 In Culture

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In April, Missouri History Museum opened its latest free exhibit, “Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night.” For curator Shannon Meyer, the idea has been six years in the making. After putting the concept through a rigorous set of criteria, and after narrowing down the staggering selection of dresses in the museum’s collection, the exhibit and accompanying book were ready for the public.

We’ve partnered with MHM to showcase just how monumental the museum’s efforts have been, and why you’ll want to attend.


Incredible Detail
While walking through the exhibit, don’t forget that some of these dresses date back to the 1800s, but the fabrics are marvelously rich and dark. The preservation work done by the museum and those who donated the garments is miraculous. Tip: Look for the dresses that have intricate beading. When you find them, keep in mind that each bead had to be individually cleaned with a custom-made cotton swab. It’s an astonishing task done extraordinarily well.


Local Designers
Throughout the exhibit, you’ll see a few local names you might know—Michael Drummond—and a few you might not. Learn more about Vera Hicks, who started her own dress-making business in St. Louis in 1929 and made a name for herself by creating dresses for the Veiled Prophet Ball. Look for other St. Louis names and connect to city’s history through designs from Madame Goodwin, Jane Franklin Juniors and Doris Dodson, among others.


Unique Programming
Throughout the exhibit’s life, you’ll be able to interact with the dresses in new and unexpected ways. First, if you want to know more about the dresses, visit the Missouri History Museum to purchase the corresponding book, which features more information and even a few dresses that didn’t make it into the exhibit.

Next, take a look at the museum’s calendar to find creative ways to engage. Opportunities include Little Black Dress: The Concert and Made in STL: A Conversation with Local Fashion Designers, a panel discussion with local designers Michael Drummond and Laura Kathleen Baker, and ALIVE Fashion Editor Sarah Stallmann .


A Chance to Make History
The exhibit opens with a wall of 130 Missouri women proudly sporting their own LBDs. About halfway through the exhibit, you’ll be greeted with even more local faces. By using #LBDproject on various social media channels, locals will have the chance to submit their own photos of themselves in LBDs and be showcased in the same room as Halston and Coco Chanel.

This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned business. All photos have been provided by our partners unless otherwise noted. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing.

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