I attended the American Institute for Conservation’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis at the end of May. The opening reception was on a steamy night at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). While the reception was welcoming, it was difficult for the conference attendees to fully forget during these festivities that IMA had just decimated several senior conservation staff positions, part 21 positions lost during recent restructuring.
However, as I worked my way through a jubilant exhibition of African dress and masquerade costume in the textile galleries, I turned a corner and was greeted with several tiny white cotton dresses, telling the story of dress history from 1775 to 1968. And, to the titillation and confusion of many of the preservation professionals in attendance, you could touch them. Visitors, in fact, were invited to pull up their skirts and investigate the underpinnings used to create the period silhouettes.
The display was fun, and beautiful.