Wedding outfit wows for January display

Collection assistant Kathy Greensides in the museum’s textile room, making ‘arms’ for the dress. Photo / Karen Hughes/Whanganui Regional Museum

The Whanganui Regional Museum is pleased to announce the next edition of Ko te Kākahu o te Marama – Outfit of the Month.

The outfit chosen for display for January is a jacket and skirt combination, dating from the mid-1860s. Made from silk faille, bleached linen, satin ribbon and braiding, the outfit features a full and voluminous skirt made possible by the ‘caged’ crinoline structure beneath it.

Entirely hand-sewn, the fabric of both the jacket and skirt is a watered silk, from a technique where woven silk cloth was passed through giant rollers, crushing the silk fibres and forming a rippling pattern.


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Collection manager for the museum, Trish Nugent-Lyne, says the dress was owned by Louisa Maria Ross, who most likely wore it when she married Henry Nevison Harrison in 1867: “It was bequeathed to the museum in 1957 by the fifth child of Louisa Harrison, Miss Meta Harrison. Prior to that, it had been in the safe care of Meta for many years while still at the Harrison family home, located directly behind the museum.” The house in Wicksteed Street was demolished and replaced by the large Brutalist-style Departmental Building in 1981.

At 12.15pm on Thursday, December 22, Trish Nugent-Lyne will host an informal 15-minute floor talk to unveil the outfit to the public. Entry is free and all are welcome. The outfit will then be on exhibition in the museum until the end of January.