1960s dress

Whitley County Historical Museum volunteer Karen Cheng shows off a sleeveless 1960s summer dress in the museum’s premiere “Fashion Fridays” video.

WHITLEY COUNTY — The Whitley County Historical Museum is bringing a new fashion exhibit to local patrons virtually — via Facebook.

Broadcast Fridays on Facebook video, the Whitley County Historical Museum has begun something staff members are calling “Fashion Fridays” to showcase the center’s burgeoning collection of vintage clothing.

“We looked at the clothing we had here,” said Dani Tippmann, director of the museum, “and we had such wonderful pieces, we thought this would be a good idea.

“And we looked at other museums around here, and they’re not doing anything like this,” she said.

One of the museum’s first virtual exhibits — done on Aug. 21 — showed off vintage dresses from the 1960s and 1970s.

The wardrobe items used in the videos are either clothing the museum has on hand, or are things donated from local benefactors, said Randy Elliott, a museum volunteer helping to craft the program.

Elliott, who also helped write the script for the first video exhibit, said showing off the clothes helps the museum in its mission to showcase local history.

“It’s a small county, so we’re just trying to get people interested in preserving Whitley County history,” Elliott said.

He added that much of the fashion displayed in the videos are clothes that would have been worn by typical Whitley County families in decades past, some with the labels still attached.

“Some pieces of clothing still have the price tags on them,” Elliott said. “We have a dress from around 1960 that still had a $10.98 tag on it.

“These pieces are more representative of a middle-class, average person’s clothing,” he added, although the entire range of clothing on display runs anywhere from everyday pieces, to wedding dresses and military uniforms.

So far, the program has proved fairly popular, drawing a good number of views, likes and shares on Facebook, Elliott said.

“We’ve had a good response so far,” he said. “The first one went up last Friday, and we’ve kind of been gauging the response. In fact, we already have another episode ready to go.”

The next video is planned to feature men’s fashion from bygone days.

“The next one will be men’s clothing of the past,” Elliott said. “It will be from the 1950s and 1960s, and will show more than just the dresses we had in the first video.”

The Whitley County Historical Museum, located at 108 W. Jefferson St. in Columbia City, is housed in the former home of Thomas Riley Marshall. Marshall was once governor of Indiana, and became the 28th vice president of the United States, under President Woodrow Wilson, from 1913 to 1921.

Run in conjunction with the Whitley County Historical Society, the museum seeks to interpret the life of Marshall, as well as the history of Whitley County and its residents. The museum consists of the Marshall house, an annex and an outhouse.

The center offers guided tours, detailed exhibits, and informational programming. It’s open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s closed Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

To check out virtual “Fashion Fridays” exhibit, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/wcmuseum/videos/235748761053968. New videos are typically uploaded Fridays about noon.

Tippmann noted that — due in part to its early popularity — the virtual exhibit could be around for a while.

“We’re just going to keep doing it as long as we can,” said Tippmann. “I don’t see an end to it.”

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