The Charleston Museum in Charleston, S.C. is showing “Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War” through Oct. 30, 2011. Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, uniforms and other textiles are accompanied by period magazines, newspapers, daguerreotypes and diaries to describe the abrupt change in lifestyle for those on the southern frontlines of the Civil War.
Exhibition highlights are day dresses, such as a brown silk dress belonging to a member of the Jervy family and a wedding dress of Charleston native Frances Ann Harcastle. Frances and her husband, William Henley Smith, married quickly after the bombing of Fort Sumter due to the precarious war time conditions.
Among the crinoline cages and hoop skirts of antebellum fashions, another piece draws from international inspirations, a Zouave-style jacket belonging to Isabela Woodruff Holst. Zouave jackets, inspired by the military jackets that French military men wore in North Africa, became popular around this time.
Other pieces in the exhibition are a uniform worn by Captain Warren R. Marshall of Charleston made with wool, silk and locally grown Sea Island cotton.
Founded in 1773, The Charleston Museum is America’s first museum with a focus on the history and culture of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.