Gateway: Living

Revealing exhibit at Fox Island museum focuses on changes to undergarments

Undergarments hang from the ceiling as part of the “Underwear Throughout the Ages” exhibit at the Fox Island Historical Society Museum on Sunday.
Undergarments hang from the ceiling as part of the “Underwear Throughout the Ages” exhibit at the Fox Island Historical Society Museum on Sunday. jbessex@gateline.com

An interesting fact to start: King Tut, an Egyptian leader who ruled from age 9 to 18, was buried with 145 underpants.

That’s just one of the tidbits featured in the Fox Island Historical Society Museum’s undergarment exhibit, which features pieces dating from the late 1800s up until the mid-1900s.

The idea for “Underwear Throughout the Ages,” on display until Sept. 1, came about because of the great amount of clothing donations to the museum from individuals in the area over decades. Curators also thought it would be a neat exhibit with intricate articles of clothing to put on display.

The exhibit includes mannequins throughout all areas of the museum, and a strung clothesline features a collection of garments along the line. The undergarments are predominately for women, but there are several pairs of long johns.

Located next to several items on display are interesting facts about the history of underwear, including the size of an average woman (5-foot-4 and 135 pounds) and the average size of a Victoria’s Secret model (5-foot-10 and 112 pounds).

The exhibit took about “two days to get it the way we wanted it,” said Virdie Golliher, a volunteer at the museum who assisted with the setup.

The focus of the undergarment exhibit is not only based on fashion, but also on learning; the museum wants viewers of the exhibit to witness changes in undergarments throughout the years.

Along with undergarment pieces, two female swimsuits are on display: a swimsuit from the late 19th century was placed next to a swimsuit from the 1950s. The older swimsuit is made from thick material, with the intent of covering the female body while down by the water; overexposing skin during the 19th century was viewed as scandalous and immoral.

The bathing suit from the 1950s shows a major contrast between styles from these time periods. The one-piece bathing suit resembles one from the modern era; the full length of arms and legs would be exposed, while a mesh material exposed a portion of the midriff.

“Underwear Throughout the Ages”

Where: Fox Island Historical Society Museum, 1017 9th Avenue, Fox Island

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays

Admission: $1

Information: foxislandmuseum.org

  Comments