Digital Exhibition: For Better and For Worse

Our digital version of our 2013 gallery exhibition, “For Better and For Worse: Sixteen Decades of Wedding Wear at Vassar,” is now online.

This digital exhibition includes photographs from the exhibition, three-dimensional rotating views of featured objects, personal photographs and stories shared by Vassar community members, a video slideshow of photographs with highlights from our oral history interviews, and the full length oral history interviews, with transcripts.


wedding outfits from the gallery exhibition "For Better and For Worse: Sixteen Decades of Wedding Wear at Vassar"
Three dresses with similar silhouettes, over a span of 16 decades.

In 2007, Vassar received a donation of four wedding dresses from the same Vassar family—three generations of dresses. Inspired by these four dresses, plus a fifth dress on loan to represent the fourth generation, we brought together a variety of other wedding wear and photographs from the Vassar community, and conducted a series of oral history interviews. The stories represented explore changing views of marriage over the last 160 years, including current views on marriage equality.

Even if you did get to visit the gallery exhibition in person, you may find that the digital exhibition gives you the opportunity to delve deeper into the stories represented in the exhibition. While we did have a brief video running on a loop in the exhibition, with highlights from our oral history interviews and a slideshow of candid photos, the digital exhibition also includes the full length oral history recordings, with transcripts. These stories, from the people who wore the outfits on display, speak to more than just what they wore, but also to the culture of the time in which they were married, and their reflections on changes over time, as some marriages endured and others did not.

Each object that was on display has its own page, with photographs, description, an audio player for the oral history interview, a link to the full transcript of the interview, and a mini viewer of the objectVR (a view of the object that you can rotate 360 degrees and zoom in upon). Under the mini viewer is a link to a full size viewer. If you have any trouble viewing any of the pages, or parts of pages, there is a page about “How to View this Exhibition” that may help, or please contact us so we can help troubleshoot.

We look forward to your feedback about the digital version of this exhibition! Please use the contact link on the menu above to share your comments with us.

A “Glimpse” of a Digital Exhibition

We’re pleased to announce that you can now view a digital exhibition representing our 2010 exhibition “A Glimpse into Vassar’s Secret Closet.”

This exhibition was the culmination of the NEH-funded Historic Costume Preservation Workshop in the spring of 2010. During the 2011-12 academic year, student research assistant Julie Fields ’12 compiled photographs from the exhibition and turned them into a digital exhibition. Julie was one of the students who participated in the 2010 workshop, and then we were able to hire her to help build our digital collection, thanks to grant funding from the Mellon foundation for an inter-institutional workshop grant entitled “Digital Archives That Count.”

We hope you enjoy the digital exhibition!

Announcement image for A Glimpse into Vassar's Secret Closet: An informal exhibition of final projects from the Historic Costume Preservation Workshop
Announcement image for “A Glimpse into Vassar’s Secret Closet: An informal exhibition of final projects from the Historic Costume Preservation Workshop”


Looking Back on 2009

This was a very busy year for the VCCC, and it looks like 2010 will be just as busy! Here are some highlights from this past year:
•    Digital Objects in the Classroom (DOC)– Our team at Vassar College received a grant from NITLE to host a workshop, on March 16-17, 2009, to explore the subject of digitizing material culture collections for classroom use. Teams of faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and media specialists came from institutions across the country to participate. For more information, see
•    NERCOMP workshop – On May 19, our DOC team traveled to MA to make presentations for a workshop for the NorthEast Regional Computing Program,  also about digitizing material culture for classroom use.
•    Care of Textiles class – in May, Co-Curator Arden Kirkland took an online course offered by the Northern States Conservation Center, to learn more about taking care of textile collections.  As a result, we’ve identified some important changes we need to make in our storage  area, for the preservation of the objects. Our NEH grant will cover some of these improvements, but it is likely that we’ll need to seek more support for the continued maintenance of the collection
•    Trying on History –In May, we hosted the Project Aware group (11-18 year old girls from Beacon), to look at historic objects and try on reproductions. Then in October, two Vassar classes came to do this activity. Throughout the year, we continued our reproduction project, generously funded by the Carolyn Grant ’36 Endowment Fund.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Vassar College Costume Collection is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.