It is circumstance, not choice, that places her in the limelight, yet from the moment her husband is elected President of the United States, the eyes of the world are on America’s First Lady – especially on what she wears.
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center’s newest exhibit, “First-Lady Style: White House Gowns” examines the role of the First Lady using fashion as a focus. The exhibit brings together 29 original and reproduction gowns worn by American First Ladies.
In addition to displaying gowns from its own collections, the center is borrowing garments from the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and from former First Lady Laura Bush.
Complimenting the exhibit is a collection of miniature copies of inaugural gowns worn by every First Lady through Hillary Clinton. Text panels describing the various First Ladies’ personalities, triumphs, tragedies, personal projects and contributions to the nation accompany the gowns.
Visitors will gain an understanding of how the role of First Lady, and that of women in general, has changed in our society during the past two centuries. The gowns also provide a vivid lesson of fashion changes through the course of history.
“First-Lady Style: White House Gowns” will be on exhibit Feb. 12 through Aug. 2 in the Hayes Museum. The exhibit is made possible by the Randolph J. and Estelle M. Dorn Foundation, with additional funding from Key Bank National Association Trustee for the Walter E. Terhune Memorial Fund.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and federal holidays. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $2 for children ages 6 through 12.
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is located at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues, Fremont. Check the Hayes Presidential Center Web site, www.rbhayes.org for a complete list of year-round special events.
From the moment her husband is elected President of the United States, the eyes of the world are on the American First Lady, including what she’s weraring. The Hayes Presidential Center’s new exhibit, “First-Lady Style: White House Gowns,” brings together 29 original and reproduction First Ladies’ gowns. (Photo courtesy of the Hayes Presidential Center)