Airing the laundry
Display of vintage undergarments at Alberton Visitor Information Centre
“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.