GCV&M’s Spring Lecture Series”Opening Our Closets: Fashion & Textile History”

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Mumford, NY (March 21, 2023) – Genesee Country Village & Museum has announced the lineup of speakers in its Spring Lecture Series (Saturday, April 1, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) on the topic of 19th-century fashion and textile history. This day-long program features four presenters speaking on different subjects, culminating with keynote speaker Susan W. Greene, namesake and donor of the Susan Greene Costume Collection housed in the John L. Wehle Gallery at GCV&M. Tickets to the Spring Lecture Series will include access to all four fashion and textile lectures as well as a continental breakfast, prepared boxed lunch, and behind-the-scenes tours of the Gallery vaults and Costume Shop. Tickets are available now at https://www.gcv.org/event/opening-closets-fashion-textile-history/.

Opening Talk: “Connecting Threads: Western New York Historic Fashion Patterning Coalition” with Brandon W. Brooks – Curator of the John L. Wehle Gallery

Interest in historic fashion, period dramas, and sewing/tailoring has grown dramatically in the past five years. Curator Brandon Brooks hopes to harness this enthusiasm through the creation of a regional historic fashion pattern database. This lecture describes what this database will look like, how to connect museums within this network, and how to increase accessibility to these collections with the ultimate goal of linking the public with historic fashion and garment resources.

Second Presentation: “Programming the Future: How a Loom Paved the Way for Modern Computing” with Ben Falter – Director of Education, Ontario Country Historical Society

In 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard patented a device called the Jacquard Machine. This machine was attached to looms and could be used to produce complicated patterns more easily in woven products thanks to a chain of punch cards that manipulated the control rods. Little could anyone know at the time, the Jacquard Machine would eventually result in today’s computers. This talk will synthesize the work of scholars and historians with examples from the collections of the Ontario County Historical Society in order to present an engaging window into an often-overlooked textile device whose effects are still felt in our every day.

Third talk: “A Monstrous Elegance of Women: Fashion as Weaponry in the 19th Century” with Chantal Filson – GCV&M Costume Shop Supervisor

Take a whirlwind tour of self-defense in the 1800s, reviewing accessories and garments used to repel unwanted attention and enforce personal space. Weapons of mass consumption utilized by both society ladies and criminals alike changed perception, industry, and law through martial arts, diamonds, danger, and more.

Keynote: “Calico, Homespun, & the Sturdy Pioneer” with Susan W. Greene – Author, Collector, Lecturer, Weaver, Historian

The keynote given by Susan W. Greene will present an exploration of the meaning of the terms “calico” and “homespun,” and focus on the examples of the three Alfred, NY women who worked as weavers in the mid-19th century, based on primary resources. To explore Susan W. Greene’s publications in advance (which highlight collections housed at GCV&M), consider purchasing Wearable Prints 1760-1860 on Amazon or through the Kent State University Press

Tickets on sale now

Tickets for GCV&M’s Spring Lecture Series must be purchased online in advance as space is limited. General admission is $90, and admission for Museum Members is $75. Tickets include access to all lectures, a continental breakfast, prepared boxed lunch of choice, and behind-the-scenes tours of the Gallery vaults and Costume Shop with GCV&M staff. Tickets are available now at https://www.gcv.org/event/opening-closets-fashion-textile-history/.

Find all upcoming event listings and more information at https://www.gcv.org/events/.


Photo: Don’t miss GCV&M’s Spring Lecture Series on Saturday, April 1 – featuring Fashion & Textile History of the 19th century with four exciting presenters.

Additional photos are available by request. To be removed from this mailing list, contact pengard@gcv.org.

GCV&M is the largest living history museum in New York State with the largest collection of historic buildings in the Northeast. The Museum, with its John L. Wehle Gallery, working brewery, vintage base ball park, and Nature Center, is located in Mumford, NY, 20 miles southwest of Rochester and 45 miles east of Buffalo. Visit www.gcv.org for more information.

Media Contact: Paige Engard, (585) 294-8280, pengard@gcv.org