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Oct 27

Historical fashion exhibit at Johnson County Museum’s All-Electric House through Jan. 8

Posted on October 27, 2021 at 11:54 AM by Becky Burnside

Women’s fashions from the 1950s are the focus of a new holiday-themed temporary exhibit at the Johnson County Museum’s All-Electric House.

Fashion Lights Up the All-Electric House - Holiday Style is the name of this exhibit, which opens Nov. 20 and will be on display through Jan. 8.

“This is such a fun way for people to connect with fashion, mid-century themes, and the holidays,” said Museum Curator of Interpretation Andrew R. Gustafson. “The house is usually decorated for a retro Christmas each year, but these cocktail dresses would have been appropriate for a Christmas party, a formal Hannukah gathering, or New Year’s Eve get-together!” 

The All-Electric House will feature women’s dresses inside the home, and women’s winter coats in the front yard.

“The clothing pieces on loan from the Johnson County Community College Fashion Merchandising and Design Program’s Historic Fashion Collection were all worn and donated by Johnson County and Kansas City women,” Gustafson explained. “From Dior to incredible American designers, the clothing will be glamorous in that great 1950s and 60s mid-century way. These are not just beautiful things to look at, but part of Johnson County’s material culture history.”

Men’s wear isn’t part of this exhibit.

“It turns out the black suit was pretty ubiquitous in the mid-century era for men,” Gustafson said. “Joking aside, men’s wear from this era is something underrepresented in the Johnson County Museum’s collections and the JCCC Historic Fashion Collection.”

“We wanted to do a program about mid-century fashion design (which took place back in September), and after talking about their Historic Fashion Collection, an idea for this small holiday tie-in display in the All-Electric House took shape,” Gustafson added. “It will feature incredible examples of mid-century cocktail dresses and winter coats. It complements the Paul McCobb: America’s Designer special exhibition really well, adding another dimension to our focus on mid-century design. This is the start to a really fun and meaningful relationship between the Johnson County Museum and the program.”

Like the holiday style exhibit, the McCobb exhibit also ends on Jan. 8. Both exhibits are on display at the museum, which is located inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Entry to both exhibits is included with regular museum admission rates of $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. 

Two companion programs to the All-Electric House - Holiday Style exhibit are planned. 

First up is Mid-Century Holiday Party Fashion, which will take place beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at JCAHC. During this event for ages 21 and older, members of JCCC’s Fashion Merchandising and Design Program will discuss the incredible examples of mid-century cocktail dresses and winter coats. Admission for this one-hour event, which includes beer and snacks, is $6 per person. Museum members receive a 20% discount.

Coming up on Tuesday, Dec. 7, is The Retro Housewife's Guide to Vintage Christmas. This program for adults takes participants inside the All-Electric House like they’ve never seen it before. For this installment, Miss Yvonne will cover all things Vintage Christmas - from décor to traditions, and those holiday classics that still hold a place in our hearts and homes today. Also at JCAHC, this one-hour program begins at 6 p.m. with a cost of $6 per person. Museum members receive a 20 percent discount.