Air­ing the laun­dry

Dis­play of vin­tage un­der­gar­ments at Alberton Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - BY ERIC MCCARTHY news­room@jour­nal­pi­

“It’s nice to have some­thing for vis­i­tors to look at that is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and in­ter­est­ing.’’ Is­abel De­laney

A rummage through the at­tic stor­age area of the Alberton Mu­seum proved so in­ter­est­ing re­cently for Alberton Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre staff mem­bers that they felt they just had to share their find.

The vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre is lo­cated in the Alberton Arts and Her­itage Cen­tre where an ex­hi­bi­tion of women’s un­der­gar­ments from the 1800s is cur­rently on dis­play.

“There are boxes and boxes of cloth­ing up there,” Is­abel De­laney said in de­scrib­ing what she found in the mu­seum’s at­tic.

They gath­ered up slips, bloomers, pan­talets, knick­ers and corsets for the spe­cial dis­play, most of the items made from white cotton.

“Some of the con­trap­tions were quite un­be­liev­able,” she said.

And some of the finds com­pelled her to do some in­ter­net searches about the “un­men­tion­ables,” but she’s still un­cer­tain of the pur­pose of some of the items. White cotton, she dis­cov­ered, en­abled the un­der­gar­ments to be cleaned in boil­ing wa­ter. It seems, she sug­gested, the wealth­ier the in­di­vid­ual the more lay­ers of cloth­ing and the more colour they wore.

The dis­play is sus­pended from a makeshift clothes­line, as if it is laun­dry day at the vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre.

“It’s nice to have some­thing for vis­i­tors to look at that is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and in­ter­est­ing,” De­laney com­mented.


Alberton Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre guide Dena McHugh, fore­ground, helps co-worker Is­abel De­laney load a clothes­line with a dis­play of women’s un­der­gar­ments from the 1800s. They were brought out of stor­age at the Alberton Mu­seum for the spe­cial dis­play.

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