Sustainable fashion in Victorian America on May 19

While popular historical dramas such as Bridgerton and Dickinson have recently sparked public interest in period costumes, and Eco fashion is currently in fashion A topic of discussion among consumers and fashion industry professionals, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will explore the philosophy of 19th century recycling with a new costume exhibit titled, Making it Last: Sustainable Fashion in Victorian America.

To make last will open May 19, 2022 at 12 p.m. with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will run through November 6, 2022 at 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT. The exhibition will be organized by Lynne Zacek Bassetindependent researcher specializing in historical New England costumes and textiles, with assistance from LMMM Conservation Committee co-chaired by the directors Mimi Findlay and Paul Veder.

The exhibit will discuss the care of Victorian-era clothing and fashionable materials, drawing comparisons to today’s businesses that support sustainability, while highlighting some of the dangerous practices of the 19th century, including including the use of chemicals and metals such as arsenic and mercury in the manufacture of fashionable textiles, fake flowers and hats.

“This exhibit promises to be beautiful and thought-provoking,” said Ms. Bassett. “What lessons can we learn from people in the Victorian era, who took steps to make a garment last as long as possible? And how were the clothes recycled once they were no longer salvageable for their original use? I hope visitors will be encouraged to think about what they can do to combat the environmental and human impact of ‘fast fashion’.

From 1995 to 2000, Ms. Bassett was Curator of Textiles and Fine Arts at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. Since becoming independent, her projects have included curating more than a dozen exhibitions, winning several national and state awards, and acclaim in the the wall street journal, New York Timesand Museum magazine. Her most recent exhibition, “New London County Quilts & Bed Covers, 1750‒1825”, appeared at the Florence Griswold Museum earlier in 2022. Her contribution to the field of historical costume and textiles has been recognized by the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, Historic New England, and the International Quilt Museum, all of which elected her a member of their honorary or advisory societies.

The exhibition is made possible by TC Humanities thanks to the generous funding provided by Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development / Connecticut Bureau of the Arts (COA) of the Connecticut State Legislature and the founding sponsors of the LMMM: The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown;Leading sponsors of LMMM: The Sealark Foundation; and the distinguished benefactors of the LMMM 2022 season: The town of Norwalk, The Maurice Goodman Foundation and Lockwood-Mathews Foundation, Inc.

For more information on tours and programs, please visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 203-838-9799. Photo credit: A mother and her children at work making dangerous flowers, photograph by Lewis Hine, 1915, National Child Labor Committee Collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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