Carmel Clay Historical Society reopens museum with ‘Fashionable Society’ exhibit


By Calina He

The Carmel Clay Historical Society reopened the Monon Depot Museum June 5 with the exhibit “Fashionable Society: Civil War to Post-War Textiles of Carmel,” which will be on display through Aug. 21.

“We titled it ‘Fashionable Society’ because Carmel itself has a reputation of being an artistic city with fashion stores and art galleries,” said Amy Grove, CCHS museum director. “The first part of the title was to show how Carmel founders started fashion and how it evolved to today.”

Grove said display pieces range from beauty supplies to fashion items.

“We displayed around 20 clothing pieces, eight hats and over 100 individual items, including an ironing board, a spinning wheel, yarn, curling irons, beauty products, razor blades, purses, shoes, gloves and jewelry,” Grove said. “We have clothing pieces dated from the 1850s, the pre-Civil War period, to the 1950s, the post-(World War II) period.”

The exhibit features men’s, women’s and children’s clothing with accompanying historical information.

“The exhibit was intended for all ages,” Grove said. “There are pieces that people in their 60s can recognize and there are pieces our elderly citizens will recognize. For the children, we had a mirror put up for them to compare their clothes to the exhibit items.”

CCHS took precautionary measures to allow a safe reopening. Debbie Gangstad, executive director of CCHS, said employees use antibacterial wipes throughout the exhibition to wipe down surfaces. Visitors are offered hand sanitizer.

“Before we reopened, we cleaned and sanitized the depot,” Gangstad said. “We asked all our visitors and employees to wear masks, limited the number of people coming inside the depot to three at a time, unless they are in the same family, and we had a designated flow path in the exhibit.”

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.


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