'Cover up': an exhibition of aprons, overalls, pinafores and smocks, January 16th to February 26th 2009
Before you start to think about spring cleaning make sure you get yourself kitted out with the right things to wear.
Mary Turner-Lewis, collection care assistant at Ceredigion Museum, has been looking at what our ancestors wore to protect their clothes. She has created a display of colourful and interesting protective garments for you to check out before you tackle your own domestic grime.
'Cover up' is an exhibition that takes a fresh lookat the extensive range of men's, women's and children's protective garments such as aprons, overalls, pinafores and smocks. These were used to cover and shield the wearer's clothes whist carrying out a variety of tasks and activities.
Mary, who has worked with the textiles collection at Ceredigion Museum for a number of years says, 'Some later garments became associated with a particular profession, an occupational dress or a uniform, whilst others, such as the woman's apron, mirrored the changing fashions and life style of the wearer. We have some lovely examples on show.'
Mary goes on to describe the history of the overall. 'In recent years, with the advent of throw-away clothes and easy laundering, the protection of clothing has become increasingly less important. Guarding one's clothing from possible harm was very important in the old days and thus the wearing of aprons and overalls was an essential part of everyday costume.'
This exhibition endeavours to show the variety of protective clothing used to cover and protect the wearer's clothes. Some, such as the agricultural workers smock show the skill and development of a craft style that went way beyond the need of the user while the domestic servant's and the nurse's apron have evolved as a badge of office.
The exhibition is on show for a month and Mary was pleased that a number of volunteers have helped her to put this display together, ' We are very lucky to have a group of local people who volunteer at the museum. I don't know what I would do with out them. '
She goes on to say, 'We have a fabulous selection of bright colourful aprons from the 1950s illustrating the climate of optimism that followed the Second World War. There are also some beautiful black embroidered 'best wear' aprons from the 19th and early 20th century.'
This exhibition is the first of its kind and it is rare to see so many examples on show together. Mary has chosen to include a few examples of aprons from Friendly societies and their costume. 'Here is an opportunity to view some of the museum's collection of Masonic and Friendly Society ceremonial aprons. They are intriguing and very decorative.'
For more information about 'Cover Up' contact Ceredigion Museum, phone 01970 633088