This year, inspired by the Judy Garland exhibition, “Get Happy!”, we decided to stage a pop-up ‘museum’, celebrating 128 years of Ebell women building, serving, and inspiring.
Held on October 24, in the sunny, airy atmosphere of the 3rd floor terrace, the pop-up museum told the story of the club from the early 1890s, through the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s and ’70s to the present day, revealing how not only our club has changed over the decades but also how women and their place in the community has changed.
Featuring carefully selected objects from our collections and writings from our archives, the displays highlighted milestone Ebell events including our founding, the details and development of our current campus, Ebell activities supporting the war effort, and more, and featured magnificent items from our costume, art, furniture collections, and included other items – from scrap books and magazines, to our President’s chair and digitized film clips in the small theatre.
A rococo revival walnut parlor chair, American late 19th century, in the style of American furniture makers John Henry Belter or Joseph Meeks, with yellow floral silk on brass castors. Used in the first Ebell meeting of 1894.
Committee member Julia Long with two beautiful white dresses from the Costume Collection. White clothing was associated with the women’s suffrage movement since the early 20th century. The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), led by Emmeline Pankhurst, chose white, purple, and green as their symbolic colors. White represented purity, purple for dignity, and green for hope. In June 1908, “Women’s Sunday” was the first large-scale meeting hosted by the WSPU in London. 30,000 attendees were encouraged to wear white, accessorized with purple and green. In addition to its symbolism, the mass of white was meant to be visually striking. Also, white fabric was relatively affordable, which meant that women of different social classes could take part. American suffragists adopted this practice, and cities around the country saw marches and demonstrations filled with women in white.
In the 1960s and ’70s, more American women began to work outside the home, and had less time for club memberships. They needed clothing that was easy to wear and take care of, but still looked professional and stylish. The “modern woman” was a woman on-the-go, with a chic wardrobe that could keep up with her lifestyle.
- Director of Historic Collections Denise Parga with Treasurer Donna Russell
- Director of Development Fran Varga with Phoebe Beasley (center) and Ruiyuan Meng