The official word: Mentioning the Unmentionables, a brand new exhibition exploring the history of women’s undergarments, will open in the Keller Gallery of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum on Friday September 5 with an exhibit opening from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The exhibit will examine the history of women’s fashion by what they have worn underneath their clothing to conform to the ideal feminine shape of the era. The exhibition will examine the role underpinnings have played in shaping – literally and figuratively – gender roles in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Visitors will get a rare glimpse at hoops, bustles, corsets, petticoats, brassieres, girdles, garter belts, and hosiery. A vintage dress from almost every decade from 1810 to 1970 will be displayed alongside the undergarments that were worn with them to create a fashionable silhouette. The earliest dress and corset, plus several other significant artifacts in the exhibition, are on loan from Mary Doering, a private collector from Washington, DC.
The exhibition will also feature nightgowns and pajamas, including some trousseau items, from the mid-19th century through the 1970s, as well as a variety of bathing suits, from wool bathing costumes to mid-20th century bikinis. Ida McKinley’s white linen undergarments will also be on display.
Mentioning the Unmentionables will be on view through November 30.
The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is located at 800 McKinley Monument Dr NW in Canton.