(Please click the link to see my floor plan, I could not attach the picture on my blog.)
In antebellum American society, people faced anxieties to transition to modernity. Following the wave of second great awakening, market and consumer revolutions, middle-class Americans embraced fears and anxieties toward changing economic, society, and culture. Their anxieties created the sentimental culture in early nineteenth century America. Since middle-class Americans faced fears of bottom up transitions from slaves and working-class people, they tended to look back good old past sentimentally. Women’s life and fashion reflect the sentimental culture during antebellum America.
My exhibit plan divided in two sections of femininity and masculinity within the exhibition. In one side of the exhibit, I displayed three wedding dresses and corset. Three wedding dresses displayed with body, and hopefully corset also displayed with a body. Audience could visually recognize how nineteenth century women formed their body to look style through thin waist of body. In other side, I displayed top hat, waistcoat, and dolman. Compare with women's dresses, male fashion shows audience its simplicity. From the contrast, people could see how women's culture constructed what looked them like. Other than each captions of displays, I hope to have one more caption, which describes meaning of whole exhibition. In the caption, I would like to explain about contrast between men’s and women’s costume and historical background of fashion in nineteenth century. Social pressure of how women look like and raise of sentimental culture could be seen in those objects.
I display three wedding dresses and corset in one side of the room, and waistcoat, top hat, and dolman in another side. In the wall of back of wedding dresses, I hang crazy quilt. This layout divided by costume of men and women. Not only displaying women’s dresses and corset, display of crazy quilt represent women’s domestic sphere. To display corset next to those wedding dresses, audience could recognize how thin waist was important to wear dresses at that period of time. Contrast between dresses and fashion objects also interesting. On the side of women's objects, there are mostly dresses which romanticized and remind women's virtue through fashion. However, on the side of men's objects, it shows simple and less colored objects. These contrasts represent how women's "how to look like in society" images were important in nineteenth century.