Lansing Historical Society hosts ‘Brides Through the Decades’ again after two years

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This dress is one of the many unique ones found at the "Brides Through the Decades" at the Lansing Historical Society Museum, and Barbara Dust’s favorite. “It reminds me of Cinderella,” she said. (Photo: Reena Alsakaji).
By Reena Alsakaji

LANSING, Ill. (July 8, 2022) – In the basement of the Lansing Public Library, dozens of bridal dresses are overtaking every corner. The Lansing Historical Society Museum is currently holding its “Brides Through the Decades” exhibit, a staple in Lansing. Entry is available for free every Monday from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m, although arrangements for viewing can be made by calling 708-474-7497.

About “Brides Through the Decades”

The Lansing Historical Society has held this exhibit every year since 1987, with cancellations in the previous two years due to COVID. The display holds a variety of bridal gowns spanning from the early 1800s to the late 1900s. Individuals can attend the display up until the start of the school year in early August, and the display was officially opened this year in June. Barbara Dust, the museum curator, has worked hard to arrange the exhibit and she can often be found at the display sharing her knowledge.

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Wedding dresses all collected from the 1910s. (Photo: Reena Alsakaji)

The dresses are divided by section; the 1800s exhibit contains dresses that predate the typical white gown, and the remaining 1900s are split by the decade. In most sections, the dresses are accompanied by information gathered by the Lansing Historical Society about the given time period. Additionally the dresses — which are all donated — include as much information about the original owner as possible.

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Found in the 1910s section, this wedding gown is locked up due to its fragility. (Photo: Reena Alsakaji)

Many of the dresses are not just a part of history, but of Lansing history, and some even have connections previous presidents of the historical society. Dust has also made an effort to feature a more inclusive and diverse range of dresses that stem from other cultures aside from the typical Western gown.

Additionally, the museum includes a “Lansing Weddings: Then and Now” display, depicting the contrasting weddings of the modern age versus the decades prior.

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Displayed are images of weddings from individuals living in Lansing; some are modern and others are not. (Photo: Reena Alsakaji)

Beyond brides

Also located in the basement, immediately following the dozens of dresses, is a Juneteenth display. This was a new addition following Juneteenth’s designation as a federal holiday, and the display contains several pieces of historical information.

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A new addition to the museum: a Juneteenth display. The display contains information about the new federal holiday. (Photo: Reena Alsakaji)

In addition, the end of the display features several old Lansing buildings and some facts regarding their history.

For more information about the historical society, visit http://www.lansinghistoricalsociety.org. The museum is open at the Lansing Public Library Mondays from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m, although arrangements for viewing can be made by calling 708-474-7497. The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue.

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