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Historic wedding gowns dress up spring for MTSU, Oaklands Mansion

Fashion, fabric and one of the most fantastic days in a couple’s life are captured in the “Wedding Dresses through the Decades” exhibit currently underway at Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro.

The exhibit, a fifth-year partnership between MTSU’s Department of Human Sciences and the historic site, continues through Sunday, March 6, at the mansion, located at 900 N. Maney Ave.

“We are building a tradition that links generations,” said Deborah Belcher, chair of the human sciences department. “The historic details and family stories are exquisite, heartwarming and engaging.”

Elegant gowns with billowing trains are part of the 2016 “Wedding Dresses through the Decades” exhibit, a partnership event from MTSU’s Department of Human Sciences and Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro. The exhibit will be open from Jan. 10 through March 6 at the mansion, located at 900 N. Maney Ave. in Murfreesboro. (Photo submitted)

Elegant gowns with billowing trains are part of the 2016 “Wedding Dresses through the Decades” exhibit, a partnership event from MTSU’s Department of Human Sciences and Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro. The exhibit is open through March 6 at the mansion, located at 900 N. Maney Ave. in Murfreesboro. (Photo submitted)

A broad diversity of styles in the exhibit represents the changing tastes of American society.

“The Textiles, Merchandising and Design program at MTSU maintains a 750-plus piece collection of historic garments, and we’ll have four of our wedding gowns on display,” said Dr. Teresa King, a professor in the human sciences department.

Those four gowns are from 1860, 1891, 1900 and 1912. The overall display includes wedding dresses from 1947 to the present, including the 2008 gown of WSMV-TV anchor/reporter Demetria Kalodimos, an original design by Rosie Woodruff of Textile Fabrics in Nashville.

“The TXMD program also offers a course entitled ‘History of Fashion,’ which introduces students to the study of garments and accessories throughout history,” said King.

“Students will have the opportunity to visit the Oaklands wedding gown exhibit and see history unfold as told from a bridal history perspective.”

King said students from the “Fashion Illustration” course have visited previous exhibits and sketched original renditions of wedding gowns from various periods.

“Both experiences allow students to apply the knowledge gained from these TXMD courses,” King said.

Items from the MTSU collection also are on display in windows in the Learning Resources Center and the Ellington Human Sciences Building on campus. These garments will include two dresses from the 1970s and a man’s suit and a woman’s suit from the 1940s.

The Oaklands Mansion exhibit will be open during regular hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sundays.

For information on private after-hours viewings, group tour rates and special evening openings, contact Mary Beth Nevills, the mansion’s educational director, at 615-893-0022 or mb@oaklandsmuseum.org.

To learn more about MTSU’s Textiles, Merchandising and Design Program, contact King at teresa.king@mtsu.edu or Belcher at deborah.belcher@mtsu.edu.

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