Curated by Anne Bissonnette, Ph.D., Kent State University Museum. With portraiture and original articles of period clothing, Fashion on the Ohio Frontier: 1790-1840 provides a unique and surprising view into early Ohio culture. The great migration westward during the early 19th century coincided with major changes in the history of fashion, textiles and communications. Through the study of fashion on the Ohio frontier, visitors gain new insights to the history of Ohio and the U.S. “This exhibition shows that contrary to the homespun frontier stereotype, Ohioans had fashionable garments of sophisticated cut, construction and material,” said Curator Anne Bissonnette. “From Greek-inspired dresses of imported sheer muslins to skin-tight pantaloons made of deerskins, fashions of the early 1800s were daring, minimalist and much sought after.” As it does now, fashion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries conveyed social status. Looking at the fashions worn by early Ohioans, provides a surprisingly complex picture of the people who settled and lived in this state.
Fashion on the Ohio Frontier is made possible by loans from the following institutions: Cincinnati Museum Center, Clinton County Historical Society, The Connecticut Historical Society Museum, Cornell University, The Bruce and Susan Greene Collection, Kent State University Museum, Massillon Museum, The National Society of Colonial Dames, Ohio Historical Society, The Ohio State University Historic Costume & Textiles Collection, Ontario County Historical Society, Pioneer and Historical Society of Muskingum County, The Ross County Historical Society, Salem Historical Society and Museum, The Warren County Historical Society and Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.