The history of American social dancing is on display in a new virtual tour that highlights outfits from the early nineteenth century through the twentieth century, giving viewers an unprecedented and up-close view of the outfits that helped define the unique American experience.
Covering genres from the waltz to disco, viewers can visit the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University (FA&M) through an online guided tour narrated by Dr. Karin Bohleke, director of the museum.
The historic display includes original dance-related paper ephemera and graphics and brings viewers back to a bygone era from the comfort of their homes.
“We’re excited to go virtual and share this unique exhibit with everyone as we all do our part during this challenging time. We hope everyone can take a break and immerse themselves in the beauty of fashion and expression of dance,” said Dr. Karin Bohleke, director of FA&M.
“Viewers are in for a visual treat as they see pieces like those featured for the swing era which includes a stunning floral gown highlighting the popular trends of the 1930s and 40s.”
The exhibit is entitled “Fashionable Dances and Dancing Fashions” and features many additional signature pieces of apparel. The cultural appeal of the exhibit “is not too be missed” according to Dr. Bohleke. This belief drove the creation of the online tour and represents the museum’s dedication to the cultural enrichment of Pennsylvania even though the museum may be closed to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FA&M is home to a 15,000-item collection, composed mostly of donations, consisting of clothing and accessories worn by men, women and children. Expanding knowledge and appreciation of clothing for its artistic, cultural and historical importance and its essential role in society, FA&M is an integral component of the university, and a major cultural resource in South Central Pennsylvania for visitors and researchers. The museum can be found online at fashionparchives.org.