New exhibit at Kirkman House Museum features 120 years of weddings

Alfred Diaz, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash.June 27, 2014 

WALLA WALLA -- Twelve decades of tying the knot is the latest exhibit at the Kirkman House Museum.

At least one wedding gown from almost every decade for the last 120 years is on display through Sept. 1.

Carolyn Priest, chair of the Kirkman House Collections Committee, said the goal was a gown per decade and one from every major religion. But the 1970s was inadvertently left off and a few faiths are missing.

"You almost need to know someone to get your foot in the door," Priest said about the difficulties of finding and borrowing older dresses with documented histories.

Kirkman Museum volunteers and staff borrowed 14 of the 18 dresses on exhibit, as well as other wedding memorabilia, including jewelry, photos, cake toppers, decorations and peignoirs.

The dresses, however, are the focal point as guests of the museum tour the house and see gowns from different eras, cultures and technologies.

"When you realize these women made these exquisite dresses on these machines, it is amazing artistry and craftsmanship," Priest said.

The exhibit also features three short videos on unusual local weddings, the regional culture of weddings and the role of the Union-Bulletin's society page in the weddings of the 1950s.

Kirkman House Museum is at 214 N. Colville St. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $20 for families.

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