Victoria may be known for her secrets, but Wildwood Historic Center has a few of its own between 1:30-3 p.m. on Dec. 7. Those secrets are on display in the Art Barn as "Victorian Secrets", ladies undergarments of the 1800s-1950s.
Victoria may be known for her secrets, but Wildwood Historic Center has a few of its own this weekend.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, between 1:30 and 3 p.m. Tammy and Luke Partsch will
play the 1883 Steinway in the Formal Parlor of the Wildwood House, "For the love of Piano", for visitors to enjoy while they stroll through the house.
Meanwhile, out in the Art Barn, "Victorian Secrets" collection of ladies unmentionables will be displayed by Betty Stukenholtz between 1 and 4 p.m. On display will be a veritable timeline of undergarments that would have been worn between the late 1800s up to the 1950s. Don't let the long, heavy dresses and layers of slips fool you, women of the period also wore some surprisingly risque underthings beneath those layers.
On display will be everything from nightgowns, bras, corsets, hose, camisoles, garter belts and garters, and pantaloons to christening gowns, wedding gowns, bonnets, hats, gloves and shoes. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions visitors may have after looking at the garments.
According to Stukenholtz, who has been collecting these items for about 14 years, the items on display would have been owned by ladies of the middle class, with some of them, such as the flour sack panties, having been worn by poorer ladies.
Stukenholtz says the items have been given to her, passed down to her, or purchased by her over the years, and she spends a lot of time stabilizing garments that have begun to deteriorate, and searching for new ones to add to her collection.
"I'm possessed!" Stukenholtz declared. "From the moment I opened a box in Grandma's attic and found pantaloons and petticoats, blouses and doll clothes, I've been hooked."
While the collection may be of items from the distant past, the beauty of many of them is timeless, and the glimpse at history is priceless.
Stukenholtz held up a maternity corset and explained, "I like to show people how ladies undergarments have evolved over the years. And thank goodness we don't have to be squeezed into and tortured by some of these things any more!"