Nineteenth- and twentieth-century clothing abounds in New England museum and historical society collections, and most families have at least one heirloom garment. It is rarely strong enough to withstand the rigors of commercial dry cleaning, and therefore conservation cleaning is the safest option.
Because of its complex three-dimensional construction, disparate materials, and often rigorous use, historic clothing presents its own unique set of challenges to the textile conservator. Whether it is to be worn by successive generations or saved for posterity, conservation-quality display and storage are a must for historic clothing. Images courtesy of Moffatt-Ladd House.
A custom form, like the bustled manikin below, means that the clothing always fits right and can be dressed again and again without damage and additional fitting.