In 2006 Barbara started the Manuscript blog on WordPress, talking about all the collections and her experiences working at CHS. She has kept it going mostly on her own, until the rest of the staff volunteered to help out, turning the manuscript blog in to Inside the CHS. Our staff has done an amazing job blogging daily about their passions and experiences working the the museum field. After over a year of growth on WordPress the blog is ready to come home to CHS.org.
However, we have even bigger news! We are not going to simply add Inside the CHS to the current site, we built a whole new CHS.org. We are all working hard to get the site ready for launch in the next couple of weeks, so you might see a little down time here on Inside the CHS. To get ready, all our writers are taking a little summer time break. They are recharging their blogging batteries and to taking some time to learn how to use the new CHS.org
This blog will still be here, but all new posts, as well as our archive, will be moving to the new CHS.org. So enjoy some of the older posts, discover a new author, or send us some idea for new posts.
Muriel King designed the costumes for Stage Door and Katharine Hepburn looks beautiful in this flowing dress. She’s stealing a scene with veteran actress Constance Collier in this still from the film.
Jean Druesedow, Director of the Kent State University Museum and curator of the exhibit had to recreate the belt for this dress—and it involved not only sewing skills, but some detective work!
Katharine Hepburn was stunning wearing this grey silk marquisette gown in Stage Door (1937), but the beautiful draping of organza and chiffon of silk crepe de chine is just the start of the story this dress tells about how movies were made in the 1930s and how museums research and restore the items in their collections. Why does this grey dress appear white in the still photograph from the film? Why is the belt magenta when the publicity poster for the movie shows it is blue? Continue reading →
Ron Tanner is a do-it-yourselfer, whether he’s fixing up his historic Baltimore row house or embarking on a book tour. We’re eagerly awaiting his arrival here at CHS in his camper van with his trusty sidekick, his Bassett hound Cleo.
So, yesterday, on behalf of the Connecticut Historical Society, I attended the Connecticut Conference on Tourism in Hartford. Firstly, it is inspiring to see the number of wonderful institutions across Connecticut that are so passionate about what they are doing. There was lots of learning opportunities with workshops about social media, using video content, reaching core audiences in ways that are relevant to them, presentations, networking opportunities and all that. What I left with, however, was insight. Continue reading →
The jeans, the mink, the glare—perfect Hepburn! Photo courtesy of the Judy Samelson collection.
Pants running. Pants standing. Best of all, pants doing a handstand. Pants are a perfect symbol of Katharine Hepburn’s unconventional approach to fashion and her exceptional Hollywood career. Decades before mainstream American women would dare to wear pants to work, Hepburn wore jeans on the studio lot in the early 1930s. The story goes that studio executives balked at her casual look (when her starlet contemporaries were dressed to the nines on set and off). They actually took away her jeans when she was busy filming in a desperate bid to make her conform to their ideas of fashion and propriety. Not to be outdone, Hepburn walked around the set in her underwear until her jeans were returned! Continue reading →
In the next few weeks I will be teaching a great deal of programs about immigration. The museum and outreach program focus on the stories of the people who have left their homes looking for a better, or different, life here in Connecticut. Being the son of an immigrant, the program has special meaning for me, and it has made me think about my own story. Continue reading →
This beautifully detailed quilted petticoat made in 1758 was owned by Sarah Halsey and was a gift to the CHS from the Lyman Allyn Museum, New London.
A mermaid, a lion, a griffin (or is it a leopard?), a fish, two stags, three rabbits, three different birds and what might be a dog. That’s the list of intricately stitched figures found around the border of Sarah Halsey’s amazing quilted petticoat. Continue reading →
This past week I celebrated my 31st birthday (not a milestone year at all!) – at home, in my pajamas all day, glued to hour after hour of non-academic television shows, and watching the snow fall outside. By the end of the day, my Connecticut yard was blanketed with about 10 inches of snow. I did venture outside to shovel a path for my Border Collie, Poncho, and, along with my husband, played a little soccer with him. This was one of the highlights of birthday #31!
Poncho and his favorite soccer ball on a much warmer day.
We are celebrating many other birthdays at the Connecticut Historical Society this winter!
Katharine Hepburn’s independent spirit and sense of style influenced countless women, fashion designers, and the informal, elegant approach to American style seen on today’s runways.
My fashion-show debut was in the juniors department in Macy’s. It was the culmination of several weeks of classes in style and etiquette, and I strutted down the make-shift catwalk in a yellow polka-dot outfit. I don’t remember the details, except I think there was a vest and I know my collar was up (hey, it was the 80s). The experience was a chance to bond with my mom, who had had her own stint as a department store model in her college days, and who had designed and made all her own clothes from her teens until she had kids to outfit instead. She’s great to watch Project Runway with because she can tell if they really know how to design and sew, or if they are just all about the drama. When we started to plan a fashion show to complement our upcoming exhibit, Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen exhibit, I knew exactly who to call. Continue reading →